Out of the conversation that we had (and I am most grateful to the team of managers, whose contributions, declarations and questions helped me shape these thoughts), emerged for me a model based on three 'juggling balls'. I imagine that many public service leaders are, right now, having to work out just how to throw these three balls around:
- Clear about their purpose and what their ethical 'bottom line' is
- Mapping their stakeholder interests shrewdly, knowing who has power and what their preferences are
- Developing their expertise at challenging people so that they 'wriggle but don't squirm'
- Paying attention to their own bodies, minds and personal relationships, watching for signs of damaging stress
- Considering their long term career such and exploring how being in a job is not necessarily the same as being gainfully employed
- Staying in touch with the people and communities they serve and looking for evidence of harm or benefit
- Practised in looking at innovative ways to deliver more with less
And probably many more things.... how are you improving your juggling skills?