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TRAINING & EDUCATION


LESS F AND MORE M?


Following the focus on leadership at last month’s Th!nkFM, Liz Kentish, Deputy Chair of the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) gives some handy advice on how to push your ideas, whether you’re in management or not.


Th!nkFM confirmed something I’ve been focusing on for some time – that we need to develop stronger leadership and management skills if we are to raise the profile of FM and be seen as a career of choice. All the sessions I attended alluded to leadership as a vital attribute to drive FM, whether it’s to engage with your Board or create a working partnership with your client/supplier.


One of the easiest ways to have a voice is to speak the language of those who we need to influence – this applies as much within an organisation as it does in the outside world. Yet it’s a skill that is so often overlooked. Even in- house management development programmes and graduate schemes focus on ‘core’ management skills, but there’s little mention of developing leaders.


I’d like to see more focus on how we get clear about the direction we’re going in, how we listen and communicate, how we influence, becoming our own best PR company,


32 | TOMORROW’S FM


how to find the courage to tread a new path, how to take others on the journey, and getting comfortable trusting people to do the jobs we employ them to do. These skills I believe are the essence of leadership.


“One of the easiest ways to have a voice is to speak the language of those who we need to influence.”


Until we step up and act as business leaders, we will remain (metaphorically at least) in the basement. You don’t have to sit at the Board table to be an influencer, but you do have to have the ear and the support of those who do. Great leaders get to know what the ‘hot buttons’ are for those people, what their style of communication is, and they adapt their own style to suit.


Once, I needed to get to the CEO of a company I worked for. His gatekeeper


twitter.com/TomorrowsFM


(sorry, PA) wouldn’t let me anywhere near him or even book time in his diary. So I sort of ‘stalked’ him (in a very nice way) and hung out by the lift until he was getting in. Having made the appropriate small talk about his favourite topic (Arsenal) I made my case (genuinely an elevator pitch!) and bingo! He listened, we agreed the way forward and the project got funding.


I’m not suggesting you go and stalk your colleagues. But find a way to be seen to be a leader. Find a mentor in your organisation who can help you overcome the hurdles and give you advice on how to deal with the influencers. And of course, when you’re looking for learning and development for your teams, by all means give them FM skills and knowledge, but also be a mentor yourself and help them become great leaders.


www.bifm.org.uk


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