First up is Glyn Fussell. Glyn is a highly experienced leadership development consultant, facilitator and coach and a Co-Director of the Oasis School for Human Relations. He has offered leader development at the highest levels within a very diverse cross-section of organisations – from central government to FTSE 100 companies.
What was your first job?
My first job was washing dishes at a motel. I was paid 40p an hour and I lasted for 10 hours.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
That’s easy. I wanted to be a singer or a classical musician. And I did fulfil that ambition for 12 years. Learning to be confident and present whilst on stage has stood me in very good stead when working with tricky situations as a facilitator.
What are you working on at the moment?
Over the last 18 months I have been in an exciting process of reviewing Oasis programmes and helping shape them so they are fit for the future. In particular, I have been looking at the future of leader development. Thinking about what is needed in the world and what we might offer to meet that need. The wonderful realisation from speaking to businesses, charities, academics and colleagues is that there has never been a more fitting time for leaders to learn a whole person, relational approach to leadership!
What has been your biggest challenge?
Most of my major challenges in life have been self-created, inner ones. Overcoming self-doubt. Learning to love who I am rather than change it in order to fit in.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I live in the North Yorkshire countryside and get up early to walk my dog before work. This is one of the most beautiful, meditative times of day for me. I’m not hugely communicative early in the morning – but walking next to the river with my little dog helps me to recalibrate and prepare for the day. If I see a kingfisher flashing across the water it’s an added bonus.
What keeps you up at night?
Worrying about what I’ve said or done that day! The latest round of horror on the news, eating too much cake…
What makes a great leader?
There is so much said about this that points to being visionary, compelling and strident. All these things are really important and I would add the ability to be really direct, to say the unsayable and to stay in relationship with the people you are saying these things to! I have met many great leaders from all walks of life – those that I have most admired are those who know themselves well and are truly inquisitive about others.
What do you think is the most important requirement for the workplace of tomorrow?
Understanding that the workplace of tomorrow is unlikely to be the stable, predictable place some of us may remember from the past we will all need to remain committed to continually learning and adjustment. Organisations are waking up to this reality. The wise ones are already creating cultures where it’s OK to make mistakes, to actively learn from them and to share this learning widely.
What advice do you give to those who want to become more leaderful?
Most people are successful in their careers because they are specialists. They are promoted because they are good at their day jobs. They develop skills and expertise that enable them to excel. There usually comes a point for all of us when our technical skills and ability, what we know becomes taken as read and at this point more is required of us. If you want to become more leaderful, you will need to be prepared to work at the edge of your competency, the place where you don’t necessarily know the answers or have a formula you can apply to find them out. I see leaders who choose to become more comfortable with being in this intrinsically uncomfortable space making the biggest difference.
What is your favourite word?
Quotidian – weirdly for such a lovely word, it just means ordinary!
What do you do to relax?
Walking in the countryside. Watching films, cooking.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
I’m really nosy – so probably the cloak of invisibility.
The Oasis Real Leaders programme launches in 2018. If you are interested in exploring your leadership questions in your own context, developing yourself as a leader or developing leaders in your organisation, please take a look at the prospectus, email us or call us on 01937 541700 for a conversation about how we can help.