Blog post 1: Migrant Action: Developing Emerging Leaders
Covid-19 has further exposed the structural vulnerabilities in our society and the need for transformational leadership towards building resilient communities and more equitable and just society.
Throughout the pandemic, Migrant Action has articulated and challenge systems and behaviours which routinely reproduce structural inequalities and the ‘harm’ on individuals and communities. Alongside this strategic advocacy work, we have provided a range of support to vulnerable migrants most affected by the pandemic particularly those with no recourse to public funds.
Through our collaborative working, Migrant Action encountered emerging leaders passionate about inspiring and leading in their communities, yet constrained by the lack of leadership development opportunities. In response, in the spring of 2021, Migrant Action and Nicola Parker Coaching Consultancy delivered a leadership program for 10 emerging leaders working with migrant based organizations and migrant communities in Leeds. The program focused on developing a ‘Whole Person leader’ empowered to lead change. Migrant Action’s leadership development is focused on strengthening grassroots-based leadership towards building resilience and mobilizing for transformational change.
Below, Eve Maloba, Project Manager, Complete Woman CIC reflects on her experience of the program
The leadership program provided me with the opportunity to network. It also gave me insight and allowed me to reflect and develop my knowledge and skills as a leader in the third sector. I share in the program’s inspiring vision to ensure leadership equity by increasing access to leadership opportunities for individuals from migrant and black and brown communities.
As a lifelong learner, this program has afforded me the opportunity to improve my managerial skills.
The group activities were vital to understanding the different styles of leadership. As a result, it has allowed me to reflect on my personal style and how suitable it is for taking the organisation forward. The invaluable information on managing performance and people development through feedback is now being implemented within our staff and volunteer management strategy.
I am looking forward to more third sector-focused programmes from Migrant Action to ensure we sustain the learning and development.
Nicola Parker has stated:
‘Strengthen networking and building leadership capacity among migrant-led grassroots organisations’ is one of Migrant Actions key aims. Not only does this talk to developing key leadership skills to support the effective running of organisations, for now, it also talks to a future where more leaders of refugee and migrant organisations will be leading from a position of lived experience. For me, that represents an exciting challenge and change for the sector and I was delighted that Migrant Action asked if I could deliver a leadership development programme for community leaders and emerging managers.
Leadership is a well-researched field. For leadership programmes to have an impact, concepts and theories must be translated into practical skills and tools. We focused on:-
Understanding different leadership styles
Developing our coaching skills to empower others
Providing clarity – translating strategy into goals and objectives
Managing difficult conversations including feedback
Leadership, especially in small organisations, can be lonely. Bringing people who are navigating similar challenges together, in a safe and supportive space, helps. Not only are participants able to grow their network and learn from and with one another but the magic of the group can ensure support transfers outside of the formal programme. This came through as we completed our final check out when the overriding offers to the group were of their time and continued support whilst requests were made for possible partnerships and peer accountability.