Insights from a Forces in Mind Trust Specialist Clore Social Fellow

Blog by Elizabeth George, Armed Forces specialist fundraiser

One could argue that the military charity sector is bursting with great leaders…Highly ranked, well known individuals who have done extraordinary things, under extreme circumstances and achieved the traditional trappings of heroic leadership in the process.

Many of these great men and women have had full careers leading Service people, and now lead the organisations that serve those self same Service people and their families.

So, in that context, why does the military charity sector think it needs leadership development programmes to help shape its future leaders?   And on a personal level, who on earth did I think I was, asking to be considered for such a programme?

I was still pondering this as I started my own leadership development journey as a 2017 Clore Social Fellow. As I checked in for my first Clore Social residential with 23 other ‘emerging social sector leaders’, we were each wondering what exactly we had got ourselves into.

Then I had my first lightbulb moment.

Leadership isn’t necessarily just about rank. It isn’t necessarily even about having status or power. It isn’t necessarily characterised by great feats, rousing speeches or commanding legions of people.

Yes, it might require some of those things, some of the time. But it could also be about inspiring change. It could be about questioning things. It could be about understanding how things could be even better when organisations work together.

And it could be about empowering others to achieve the best possible results for those we serve.

And then I realised that, with the right tools and approach, I could do any of those things and that actually, to achieve more for all the veterans and families my charity works with, I should.

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