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'Leadership is about developing staff at every level'

Christine Fisher
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Reaching the end of my time as chief executive of North West Leicestershire DC after 13 years has inevitably led to some serious reflection.

When people have asked what am I most proud of, it’s difficult to isolate one single thing and so I have settled on three.

The first is to do with the overall feeling about the organisation. It’s about my colleagues and how they feel about working here. When I responded to the advert for the post in 2004, the council was starting to recover from its weak rating from the Audit Commission and people told me that they didn’t feel proud to work here.

Through good teamwork and leadership, I’ve helped to create an organisation where people know they’re making a positive difference. In turn, I’m proud that the people around me can take good strategic direction and turn these ideas into a reality.

This leads me to the second thing I’m proud of; a more tangible example, but still involving the council’s most important asset: our staff.

Our ‘Best Employee Experience (BEE)’ programme incorporates every aspect of working for us: recruitment, development and even preparing to leave the organisation.

I worked on the idea that everything we do should be about the people we recruit and develop; making sure they have the behaviours, as well as the skills, to work according to our values. Together, my colleagues and I have created a programme that is centred on the individual.

Coaching is at the heart of this programme. Through wholesale training, embedding coaching advocates at all levels of the organisation, we have developed a culture where everyone is equipped with the skills they need to make better contributions within their roles and is encouraged to continually develop themselves.

I couldn’t complete my list without mentioning the green agenda. I am hugely proud of how we’ve been able to support the National Forest in its development of this region from the ‘black’ of the coal mining industry to the ‘green’ of the forest.

Other initiatives spearheaded through our Green Footprints programme have seen more than 72,000 spring bulbs provided to communities across the district and almost 58,000 free trees given out. I have so enjoyed working in this beautiful, green district and am very happy to see it growing greener because of our work.

As I move on, I know my new roles as a non-executive director and an independent chair will provide me with great challenges and opportunities to share my skills and experience. I remain passionate about continuing to promote coaching and mentoring services, as I have done for the past 12 years.

Christine Fisher, former chief executive, North West Leicestershire DC

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