Shared Leadership Creates a Culture of Engagement

Monty Laskin - CEO CCSI asked all of the Senior Leaders within CCS to describe their leadership style. When invited by Tammy to choose one leader to highlight, I suggested an alternate approach.

I wanted to see if all the leadership styles taken together would offer up a theme for the broader leadership philosophy of Caledon Community Services. I hoped our styles would reflect the values and priorities of Caledon Community Services. They do. Completely.

Geraldine Aguiar, Director of Health Services
I am an empathic and purposeful leader. It is important for me to understand the why and what of things so I can best determine the how and the who.

Fiona Coughlin, Director of Fundraising and Development
I tend to delegate most of the time because I need creative solutions from my whole team. In a crisis or deadline, I become more authoritative and provide quick decisions when clear direction is needed.

Denise Henderson, Director of Finance and Infrastructure
I provide clear expectations and coaching in the beginning and leave them to work on the task, stepping in when asked or if they are struggling. I try to know when my team needs help by performing informal check – ins on their current work load and even their mental health and stress.

Cathy Perennec McLean, Director of Employment and Development
I am a results – centered leader. To get results I provide my team with the tools they need to be successful. Those tools are coaching, ongoing communication and the support to challenge themselves.

Michelle Stubbs, Director of Community Resources
I am an assertive leader who challenges my team to continually question and evaluate the way they work from different perspectives. I believe my team members are also leaders so I push them to recognize and use their strengths. I hold them accountable for the impact their work has on our divisional and organizational success.

Our organization is all about engagement these days. A few years ago we understood that we could continue to grow and grow and grow. We intentionally chose depth rather than breadth, given the many other organizations who provide excellence in their areas of specialization. As a result, we’ve committed to using our resources to support those other organizations so that collectively, we can provide greater depth of care to the community. There are challenges in collective leadership for us and for the smaller organizations with whom we are working. But we are making headway and getting some very challenging problems addressed in ways that we could not do working alone. The leadership required has to be about a shared leadership, finding ways to build community capacity through a substantial migration of Caledon residents to the challenges that occupy all community – based charities in the human services sector.

I am struck by how these five CCS leaders refer to their process and their end game/desired results. Their process reflects engagement through different approaches; the product they’re all seeking is by and large the same: others’ success. I think that is synonymous with collective impact; it is good leadership to deploy all of the resources at your disposal towards the best possible outcomes. Draw on everyone, make enough room around the table for everyone to play a leadership role. It oftentimes is not the popular approach, especially when quick results are called for. But it is an approach that has a high likelihood of sustained energy and long – term success.

My leadership is largely about having very high standards, pursuing them tirelessly and when people are on the right track, getting out of their way so they can steer the ship. I think that creates a culture of feeling valued, challenged, free to innovate, trusted to work hard and to care deeply. However, isn’t it true that sometimes people aren’t on the right track and a leader’s job is to do something about that. It is during these times that the culture of the organization either serves you extremely well or is your Achilles Heel. If there is collective leadership, there is always that momentum to draw upon to encourage people to get back on track.

Then there’s chocolate. Always helpful no matter what.

Monty Laskin, CEO
Caledon Community Services

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