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Polarisation and paradoxes

Wednesday 21 October 2015


As a leader, I’m a weaver – and I love my work.

It's a great privilege to lead an organisation with such a fundamentally important mission: changing the world for the better, for children.

In lots of ways, being the Director of CELCIS is easy - we’re a group of amazingly talented, passionate, innovative and committed people. We all want to make a difference, and that drives us every day to go above and beyond what we’re asked.

The complexity of our work

Of course, being the boss is not always easy. Weaving’s a tricky business after all. There’s the complexity of having many different strands of work - everything from heady policy and research, to heart-capturing experiences of practitioners and young people. But for me, these diverse strands are strongest when woven together. And doing this weaving in a world of paradoxes makes leadership no mean feat - the finished design is far from complete.

We feel impassioned by the injustices that children and families can face, yet we draw on our intellect to analyse the evidence and apply effective solutions.

Urgency v’s patience

There’s an overwhelming urgency to improve things so each child has a genuine opportunity to reach their full potential - especially when we know how short a time children remain children. Yet we also need huge amounts of patience to make sure the changes we’re making have time to bed in.

There are tensions between responding quickly to the growing demand for our services, while needing to hold on to the work we've already begun, long enough to know the changes will be sustained.

Keeping the group together

There’s no denying that these polarities exist, indeed they come with the job. As a leader I know that often there’s no easy answer or solution, but my role is to make these tensions apparent. I work to keep us on the same path as a collective group, always looking to find a way back to the centre ground.

Really, I welcome these polarities, and I think it’s important to look for ways we can find balance with each other, so we’re well anchored together in our life's work. Only then can we listen well to each other, to the needs of children and families, and create a CELCIS 'pattern' that offers an effective synergy of our services to all of Scotland. It’s the tensions that ultimately keep this tapestry in place and enable us to do our best for children.

Find out more about how we work.

Topic: Leadership

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