Leadership and Management. Is there a difference? How much does it matter?

Once upon a time there was a na├»ve and idealistic young arts graduate, who was given her first team of 2 people to ‘manage’ in a small office down a dingy corridor in a Civil Service building. A couple of years later, from a shared general office in the middle of a hospital, she was starting out on 20+ years in the NHS in management positions. It was the late 1980s. General Management was the new shiny thing. Administration was well and truly out of fashion. What mattered most for a manager – being liked or being respected? That was a popular question. And of course, the ‘right’ answer was being respected. That person never felt comfortable with that question and the expected response. That person was me.

(Before I continue, please note, or if you are of my vintage, please recall what the 1980s were like generally, and that there was not the wealth of evidence we now have showing the clear link between treating people well at work and better productivity. I always felt intrinsically th…


I've kept my HRMixtape short and sweet, some may say sugary sweet. Motown is the theme. It has been my favourite music since I was 14, and it's is where I always turn when I need some music to enter my soul and lift my spirits. Here goes:
1. The way you do the things you do by The Temptations Because everything depends on how we in HR and professions that enable, support and develop people, do what we do. Hopefully this means talking to people, actively listening, interpreting the spirit of the policy, being kind and compassionate always - with toughness when necessary.
The way you do the things you do

2. Reach Out, I’ll be there by The Four Tops Because this gives me the chance to share my favourite flow chart (again) and because it is important that HR reach out effectively to everybody in the business, know the business really well and are there at the heart of things when we need to be.
Reach out, I'll be there.

3. Stop! In the name of love by The Supremes Because this …


I have a very simple, and achievable New Year’s Resolution for 2018, and I’m hoping lots of others will join me.
It’s not one of the usual suspects like dieting, getting more exercise, cutting out sugar, or even Dry January etc. (though all of those remain constants in my life and a drier January is very possible.)
I am going to try to avoid using single use plastic and consuming products that come in hard or not possible to recycle packaging, such as take away coffee and certain cylindrically shaped snacks.
To help me in this, I am going to keep a daily diary of instances where I do end up using plastic or other packaging that I cannot recycle with certainty. And I will take a photo of the product packaging and tweet it (#reducesingleuse). I’m hoping that this commitment to record this will help me in this quest, and that as the months go by, I will have more and more days, hopefully weeks, where the daily dairy is blank.
My motivation? Even before Blue Planet – a massive wake up call, i…

Walking reflections - a poem

On a blustery Saturday morning in early September, I Set off for a brisk, yet meandering, walk with my dog With a watchful eye on the clouds scudding across the sky What a word - scudding! Its poetic, literary meaning Lost me in thought, as the clouds continued to multiply

On a blustery Saturday morning in early September, I Climbed up towards the iconic church on the hill Limbs starting to loosen up as we went further high I love these walks, they're where I do my best thinking  And here, I’m trying to say why

On a blustery Saturday morning in early September, I Decided that we’d take the long route along the ridge With glimpses of the new cycle path through the hedgerows close by Which were laden with luscious autumn berries I decided that I’d like to make a blackberry and apple pie

On a blustery Saturday morning in early September, I Thought of everyday things, as well as reflecting back on the week past A mixed few days, with a few scatchy moments, I have to testify I’ve been doing too much an…

Ride London Tandem Charity Ride for Hospiscare.

Anyone who knows me in real life, or who has read my Twitter and blogs for a while (thank you!) will know I am very passionate about working for organisations whose purpose is to support and or care for people when they are vulnerable and need support. You may know that after quite a while in the NHS, then the Probation Service, a dalliance with independent consultancy (still doing a small amount), I now work for Hospiscare, a Devon based hospice charity. You may also know that I have taken part in various fund-raising events over the years for different charities, running (kind of) or cycling on our tandem. 
This year, I am not a participant in any event, but I’m a definite groupie, a sort of ‘born again’ charity bucket shaker, and very possibly an irritant. It’s a fine line between attracting support and donations via powerful stories, and getting on everybody’s nerves with frequent sponsorship requests!

So, this blog is an attempt to tell you why I’m walking that fine line again. My …

HR, L&D, Personnel, People, Workforce Development etc. etc. and Professionalism

Above, in the title of this blog is what I consider to be our fundamental issue. What are we as a profession? What are we all about? What makes us distinct from the other accepted business/corporate functions like Finance, and, and, well hang on. How distinct are the other professions that come to mind? And do they all have a clearly recognised scope of things that they do and a professional code of conduct/ethics that anyone you asked on the street could identify in some way? Probably not. Except maybe law and medicine, where you have to be qualified to practice, and everybody knows this.
Something I have often said, sometimes in frustration, sometimes to illustrate my point simply, is "Would you have a non-accountant heading up Finance? No? So why, in a business where 70% ish of your spend is on your people, on whom you rely totally to deliver your service, would you not have a qualified HR professional leading HR?" This is where this blog could get very messy and disorgan…

Look up, look around, listen

As I walk along, I look up, I look around, I listen, I straighten my shoulders. I find I am smiling. I start to become more aware of my breathing and how I am holding myself. I notice more colours and patterns as I look literally all around me. I also notice several different types of birdsong, and which direction it's coming from. My smile feels natural and comfortable and it settles. I am on my own outside on a glorious day, walking my dog, who is also really happy and waggy. God! I am so lucky. This is this afternoon's sunny springtime walk, 5 to 10 minutes away from my house.

Today wasn't always like this. I woke up tired again. Grey fug for a brain. That general headachy feeling that comes from lack of sleep. Unable to get back to sleep, but longing for decent sleep to envelop me. I'm 52, and some of my female friends may identify with this lack of sleep, and why. Night sweats, damn you! I have too much to do today...

I have always found getting outside and notici…