Monday 16th December 2019
For our December drinks event, hosted by RSM in Birmingham we were delighted to have a truly enviable panel of guests. Hosted by CIH’s former president and housing guru, Alison Inman, expertly guided our panel through a conversation about their stories to leadership, their bouts of imposter syndrome and teasing out some hilarious stories along the way!
We shared lots of laughs as the speakers; Sinéad Butters – Group Chief Executive, Aspire Housing and Chair, PlaceShapers, Lindsey Williams – CEO, Futures Housing, Liz Whitfield – Director, Growth Plans, Stephanie Peraton – Deputy Vice President, Birmingham Law Society and Elaine Shiels - Partner, RSM Birmingham, shared their home life situations and their outlook on work life balance.
It was an interesting comment that started the discussion which landed well with the audience; leadership isn’t all about the person at the top, followed by a discussion around the need for determination and belief in yourself to achieve your ambitions. It was interesting to hear the panel share that they feel often women can be very tough on themselves, and perhaps there isn’t always a need to be so tough.
It was made clear to the audience the important of knowing your stakeholders and colleagues and building good work relationships with them so they know you for who you are as an individual as that can shape how your messages land with them in the future. Others told of great bosses who they had learnt from and how their support really helped them achieve their goals.
The type of conversations women have in the workplace can be difficult the panel shared, and stories of where they might have said the wrong thing we’re met with raucous laughter from the audience at times! Their advice was to realise what should and should not be expected, to reflect and think about what you might have done differently in a given situation, but to understand your own emotions, know your limitations and to have a sense of humour when you may on occasion say the wrong thing!
Self-awareness is the first port of call for leadership it was suggested, followed by understanding your impact and the understanding how to adapt to your audience, flexing your style to suit different people. And the importance of taking time out to think and check your direction; are you climbing up the ladder that’s right for you?
Panel speakers talked about some of the lessons they’ve learnt along the way to help others. Like the importance of taking a pause, drawing breath before responding, especially in instances where things may not be going as you’d planned. Everyone is different and we should allow ourselves to be different the panel suggested. Showing emotion, not showing emotion, we’re all different and we can all learn from each other as equals.
With experience comes the ability to manage better these situations said the panel, however the advice was clear; in a meeting situation call out the behaviour if it’s right to do so, or take it offline and deal with it at a more appropriate time if you feel that would be better. But poor behaviour should be challenged, respect for yourself and others is hugely important.
In what was a passionate, energising and honest discussion, before the panellists shared their Christmas wishes they concluded; be personable, be yourself, and own your own personal development. Have a coach. Have a mentor. Be part of development programmes. Be yourself.
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