Archive for October 14, 2011

Chief personality traits

October 14, 2011

You need to be tough to be at the top

Chief execs are few in number, and it appears that they could be something of an endangered species.  As the need to balance the books grows ever more urgent and as more leaders and Mayors start imagining themselves as Executive Mayors, councils up and down the country could begin to see the officer at the top become a group of officers slightly below the top.  Perhaps they will see their chief presiding over two or even more local authorities, or maybe they’ll simply ride off into the sunset as teams and services become more localised and self sufficient.

This and more was considered recently by the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers, also known as SOLACE, which is the representative body for senior, strategic managers in UK Local Authorities and the wider public sector.  They released an excellent document which explains, from their perspective, the importance of the role and the huge variety of skills and knowledge which this one person needs to have.  We really recommend you take a look; it’s pretty short and is as brilliantly plain English as it gets.

Whilst we at WLLG towers generally happen to agree with them, today is not a day when we are going to explain why (more to come soon though).  Instead we thought we’d be a touch more whimsical about things and go through some of the characteristics of chief executives which we have collectively encountered over the years.  Some characteristics are held by more than one person, and some people hold a combination of these which is unique to them.  The best chief execs we have seen have a little of all of them, and know exactly how to use each to their council’s ultimate advantage.

The yes man or woman

Local government is a complex place for those at the top.  Demands are placed on them from every angle imaginable: their own directors and senior managers all feel their own services are vital and above cuts (or should at least be insulated as far as possible), local residents waste no time telling them all of the things they think are being done wrong, politicians and their Leader are pulling them from pillar to post to support their political plans and goals all whilst Eric Pickles and much of the media tells the world that they are superfluous and are being paid too much. (more…)