Reflections of a Relational Leader: Embracing Growth, Navigating Challenges in a New Housing Scheme and Building Communities at Appleby Blue

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Morgan Tume
Appleby Blue Centre Manager, United St Saviour’s Charity

Everyone said that becoming the Centre Manager at Appleby Blue would be a tough challenge for the first two years, but nobody prepared me for how much of a self-reflective journey it would turn out to be. Stepping into a leadership role, launching a new housing scheme with community spaces, and working alongside a completely new team - all while completing my master's degree - has been a significant undertaking.

In these initial launch phases of development and team building, one becomes acutely aware of the strengths and weaknesses of those around you. Amid crisis management and process development, I was forced to confront my own flaws and vulnerabilities. Over the past year, engaging with the stories of insightful leaders in the industry through the Housing LIN Future Leaders Programme has offered both reassurance and affirmation of my professional growth. Too often, we see only the successes, overlooking the arduous journey undertaken to achieve them.

On my first day, as I made my way to Birmingham, I felt a mix of excitement and apprehension. My previous roles were within the voluntary and community sector, and I had minimal knowledge about older people's housing, despite now managing a pioneering sheltered housing scheme. Upon entering the room, I was met by a diverse group of professionals from various sectors within the industry, each bringing different levels of expertise. One presentation that particularly resonated with me was by Lawrence Cramer, the People and Culture Director at Inspiring Villages. His deliberate choice not to use the transactional 'Human Resources' label struck a chord, highlighting the importance of genuine connections and conversations at all levels to positively influence working life. It served as a reminder that I am an expert in the ABCD (asset-based community development) approach that I have employed to build communities, and it's no different now I’m building a community at Appleby Blue Almshouse. I left feeling empowered, knowing that I too can be a relational leader.

Another memorable moment came from impactful speaker Professor Richard Humphries, who shared a poignant story about having to make several employees redundant due to government cuts, only to find himself made redundant immediately after. This experience underscored the importance of leading with integrity and clarity. As I reflect on this, I realise the need to focus on clear communication, establish professional boundaries, and manage my emotional responses, especially given my passion for this work and desire to be a relational leader.

Having spent the past 12 years in the charity sector, where team restructuring is a constant, I've seen that uncertainty often opens the door to progression and opportunity. Jeremy Porteus, the Chief Executive of Housing LIN, was one of the employees who experienced redundancy within Richard's department but found a new path working with him in a different capacity years later. It's a reminder that the impact you leave on people is often more significant than getting everything right.

Morgan's blog is one of 9 from the 3rd cohort of the Housing LIN’s Future Leaders Programme, sponsored by Inspired Villages Group, 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 too.

And, if you'd like to find out more about Appleby Blue, check out this Housing LIN Inspirational Achievement feature.


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