There Were Huge Differences Between

There Were Huge Differences Between

There were huge differences between the two jobs, especially resources, the things you take for granted - no secretaries, little support, money being tight. The management structure largely comprised ex-teachers, many of whom I came to realize were entrenched in individuality and chauvinism - "teacher always knows best". As the majority of those in charge were men, it was inevitable that the culture was dominated by macho attitudes, far worse than those of any oil company. Local management was being introduced and it was my job to help the transition. We felt the pressures of devolution and how it affects people if they are not handled in the right way. We were there to help them, and the challenge I enjoyed was putting together a team from a very mixed bunch of people with diverse backgrounds and strengths. People were expecting results from us, which they could show off about, but it was soon clear that the fundamentals - the essential building blocks such as sound contracts, efficient and effective information systems - did not exist. With the first wave of capping and budget cuts, I managed one of the biggest redundancy exercises they had ever had to face in a seventeen-union setting. I was now expecting my second baby. It was a time of considerable stress �not helped by the lack of support from the people above me and not enough people to do the work required. I knew I couldn't do any more and I urged them to replace me while I was on maternity leave with someone from the central team and one male assistant director agreed to do it. It opened his eyes to what it had been like for me. The personnel director said he would like me to work with him and so it was agreed that, when I returned, I would manage one of five corporate projects involving management development. I ended up with all five! One of the department's main achievements was devising a rolling program called 'Making Connections', which covered more than 1200 managers. We won a local government award for excellence and parts of the program still exist today.

'When I moved to the head office, my colleagues were not expecting too much (although I didn't realize it at the lime), but it turned out to be a great success. I was free to network and to create - activities which I know are essential to my sanity and my health. When my director became deputy chief executive, I was appointed his personal adviser and, after a period of reorganization, I negotiated to manage a multi-functional team. This was 2009-2016 .


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