Delegates look to implement ‘little gems’ from ‘light-bulb moments’ during EOA’s ‘empowering leaders’ course

The first cohort of delegates on the EOA’s leader course have spoken of the “little gems” and “light-bulb moments” gained from attending the virtual learning sessions.

Run across five mornings, our first ‘How To Be An Empowering Leader Or Manager In An EO Business’ course finished in December 2021, with the delegates commenting on the “good balance” of topics covered and many saying they were “very likely” to recommend it to others.

Recognising that management and leadership in an employee-owned business requires a different approach to that seen in other ownership structures, Telos and J Gadd Associates, in partnership with the EOA, developed a programme to equip leaders and managers with the right tools and mindset to drive success in an employee-owned business.

The EOA has spoken to some of those that attended and while agreeing the course is about developing personally as a leader, the delegates also said they enjoyed being able to share their experiences.

Course ‘snippets’ make directors go ‘oh yeah’

Barry Green, Group Services Manager at Coastal Recycling, found the course useful and took ‘little gems’ back to recommend to his business.

He said: “I really enjoyed that not everybody was at the same stage of an EO. The whole course definitely isn’t a one-style fits all and that was what was nice about it, the way things were talked about, there was a real openness.

“I’d written down odd snippets, there were a couple of bits where I’d actually gone back to my senior management team and the directors and I’ve gone ‘what do we think of this’ and I’ve thrown in a couple of sentences I took from the course and I’ve turned round and gone ‘what are you doing with this’ and everyone has gasped and gone ‘oh yeah’, so it was really good in that sense.

“There were some bits that came up and you were like ‘yeah, like-minded, like-minded’, but then every now and then there’s just a little gem that comes up and you think ‘yeah, I didn’t think of that one’.”

Course provided ‘many opportunities to think about what we do’

Debbie Brimicombe, General Manager Home Shopping at WCF, had not attended many courses like this previously and admitted she didn’t know what to expect, but said the benefits helped with one of her projects.

“Most useful I think was just how many opportunities it gave us to think about what we do. It was a good balance of talking about employee ownership, but also all the skills that it was trying to teach you to bring to the table,” she said.

“I wasn’t quite sure what it would all be about, but I enjoyed it all to be honest. I enjoyed mixing with the other people in the peer groups, because I think we all very much carry on as individuals and think no one else is sharing our experiences when it’s quite obvious everybody does share them.

“The questionnaire at the beginning was interesting that made us look at what we needed to work on as individuals, and I definitely agreed with everything it said in there about me, and for me it coincided with other projects I was doing outside of this so that was absolutely beneficial.”

Sessions helped ‘reaffirm a lot of what I am doing is right’

Steve Wilson, IT Manager at Gripple in Sheffield, said he had been on similar sessions before, but admitted the good thing about the EOA’s course was it “wrapped a lot of it up in a bit of a bundle”.

He said: “I enjoyed the ability to mix with such a variety of leaders, which was a real insight on how they were going to engage their workforce, and it was just a great mix of people and variety of businesses and journeys into employee ownership.

“Probably the bit that stands out for me was there was a whole thing about self-awareness and the kind of language you use with people in your team and your peers, just having an awareness of that and an awareness of other people’s situation.

“I’ve been on lots of leadership training so this was a mix actually, but what it did was it kind of reaffirmed a lot of what I am doing is right and then kind of corrected a little bit where I could do things better.

“There were a couple of topics where I thought ‘I’m not going to learn anything here’, but actually I did, there are still little bits in there where you could do things differently or better, and there are a few light-bulb moments where you’ve not thought of it.”

‘Stakeholder mapping was extremely helpful’

Debbie, from mental health and emotional wellbeing support service Chums, added: “What I found most useful were the learning groups to further understand from others, as well as understanding other EO companies and their journeys.

“I also liked the clear learning literature in formats that can be referred to on the journey that I will continue on.

“The course was a good listening ear on feedback about me and hearing what solutions others have.

“I also found the stakeholder mapping extremely helpful to focus on how we need to work together in a more curious seeking approach to challenges.”

If anyone is interested in attending the leader course, click here to find out more >>