With the final local government challenge taking place tomorrow, I wanted to take a few moments to consider what I’ve learnt so far through this process.
This competition has been a huge learning curve for me and has completely changed my view of leadership and my ability to step up to the next level in my career.
Being comfortable with ‘VUCA’
‘VUCA’ is a term I’ve heard many times during my time working in local government and I’ve experienced it throughout this competition! Each of the Local Government Challenges have pushed me to become proficient in dealing with ‘VUCA’ situations
- The volatility of learning and having to adapt to new information part-way through a challenge
- Having to cope with the uncertainty of what each challenge will bring
- Making sense of a plethora of complex information in a short period of time
- Having to put a proposal together not knowing what the judges will want to see
Although I perform at my best when I’m able to plan in advance and when I am an expert in my subject matter, my local government experience has taught me that I can thrive in a VUCA environment.
The 21st Century Public Servant
To some extent, I ruled myself out of being a future Chief Executive or senior leader in Local Government as I didn’t think I could lead in the way needed – I couldn’t be the hero saving the day. However, my experience of the Local Government Challenge has taught me that I can lead as a 21st Century Public Servant Leader – using my interpersonal, synthesising, organising and communication skills to lead through serving and empowering others. I feel we have all been at our best in the Local Government Challenge when we have collaborated, celebrated and used other people’s strengths and when we have reminded ourselves of the reason for taking part – to benefit local communities.
Own your future
I’ve worked alongside some strong personalities in this competition and have struggled to stay assertive when I’ve sometimes felt completely out of my depth. However, I have risen to the occasion and have succeeded where I might have failed in the past – I have stood strong and voiced my opinions. This experience has taught me that I’ve got a lot to give in my career and that I, and only I, have the responsibility to push for the future I want. I can’t expect anyone else to do this for me and, with this knowledge, I feel truly excited for my future.
Yes, this old chestnut again – the one lesson that I feel this experience has brought to me again and again. Trust yourself. As a serial comparer and self-doubter, it’s all too easy for me to look at someone else and think ‘they’re so much better than me’. If this experience has taught me one thing, it’s that I’m not anyone else, I’m me. I’m not comparable and I’ve learnt to trust in my skills, my knowledge, my personality, myself. As a result, I’ve started to listen to my instinct, to bring my whole self to work, and this has opened so many possibilities.
Instead of trying to be someone else, I’ve learnt that I’m pretty great exactly as I am. I’ve found happiness in not striving to become someone else, but instead in just enjoying who I am.
So, on the day before the final round of the Local Government Challenge, I know I’m going to throw myself into this final experience and can’t wait to see what further lessons I’ll learn.
Win or lose, I’ve gained so much from this experience.