I  have had a varied career and have worked in the statutory, voluntary and independent sector in the UK and overseas. During my time in the statutory sector I became very focused on control and structures rather than on outcomes and users. The frustration with this approach led me to move away and join more outcome-focused, user-based organisations.

Martin Green asmallSadly we still have a lot of this mentality in statutory organisations which often leads to constraints on the innovation and creativity of many of the people who work in the sector. A good example of this is the tendency of commissioners to do their own forms of inspections under the guise of compliance reviews. This is neither helpful to the system or satisfactory for the staff engaged at it. I wish that I had been more assertive and challenged the bureaucratic approach when I came up against it and understood how partnerships with voluntary and independent bodies could help this.

However, there are examples of creative and dynamic individuals and approaches within the statutory sector and I am determined to support them externally in my current role. 

The more experienced I have become as a manager the more I understand that management is a skill in itself. Too often we delude ourselves into believing that just because we are a good practitioner, or researcher, we will make a good manager. I came to management at the age of 26 when I became chief executive of a local Age Concern organisation. Looking back, I feel somewhat embarrassed by how little I knew and how much I relied on the support of my colleagues.

Experience has taught me that nobody can do things without the support and commitment of their colleagues. Certainly, looking back on this experience what I wish I had done in the initial stages of my life as a manager is talked less and listened more, but I was under the false impression that management was only about instructing rather than engaging. 

In my role as chief executive of the English Community Care Association  one of my responsibilities is to listen to my members and to ensure their views are placed on the agenda. My experience of working with diverse communities and having to balance priorities has certainly helped me in this role.

Martin Green is chief executive of the English Community Care Association

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