Looking for long-term leadership in a time of short-term policy

Blog_Alice Whitton
Alice Whitton
Assistant Head of Real Estate Analysis, Inspired Villages

Having come from a corporate background, I am fortunate to have received regular and robust training around management and leadership throughout my career so far. But prior to joining Inspired Villages, I had very little working experience of the housing, health and social care industry, and a fairly homogonous pool of admirable leaders that I could refer back to. I therefore chose to take part in the Housing LIN Leadership programme to learn about what different leaders might look like in this space.

Interestingly, what I have learnt is that the core characteristics of a good leader hold true in whatever context you are in: hard-working, empathetic, a good communicator (including listening), knowledgeable, trusting, humble and optimistic are the key characteristics that I would expect in my leader/manager. And these are focus areas that I will be taking forward in my career for ongoing growth and development, in whatever capacity my future roles may take.

The housing, health and social care industry is heavily influenced by government policy. To me, this is unfortunate, due to the short-termism that UK politics suffers from being in direct conflict with the long-term investment required in this area.  Change creates issues if we fail to adapt – this is why I believe our ageing population has been labelled a ‘problem’, contributing to rising health care costs, insufficient funds to support pensions, and a housing stock that is not appropriate for our country’s demographic. Some of these are unavoidable, but as a systemic issue, the government has so far failed in its responsibility to lead us to adapt to this challenge, and realise the opportunities that this new population dynamic presents.

From working at Inspired Villages, I have seen the impact that the private sector can have on transforming people's lives. But unfortunately, due to the costs and risk associated with housebuilding, the private sector cannot fix the housing problem alone. We need policy change to make retirement villages an option to the majority of pensioners, and to change the narrative around such schemes.

A key learning point for me from the programme is that you can lead and exert influence at any level; being a leader is not defined through your experience or title. Yes, it is easier for those in positions of power or status to have their voice heard, but that shouldn’t stop others from using theirs. Investing in building up a network around you, including mentors and a group of peers from similar organisations is fundamental to helping us find our voice.

Alice's blog is one of 9 from the 3rd cohort of the Housing LIN’s Future Leaders Programme that we are publishing in the lead up to our virtual Summit – A Festival of Ideas and the virtual session on Tuesday, 29 February 2024 (10:30am - 12:00 pm). Register now for Cultivating Leadership: Inspiring the Next Wave of Talent and Future Leaders.

Find out more about Housing LIN’s Future Leaders Programme and read the other blogs once published.


Add your comment

Leave this field empty