My trustees keep reading your column and now they are being unhelpful to me. Can you stop it, please?
Your trustees are clearly a discerning lot. Of course, it depends on what bits of my column your trustees are picking up on. As readers will know, I take a no-nonsense approach to giving advice. I prefer to handle things from a practical, chief executive point of view, rather than your standard HR text.
I realise that there are readers among you who might sometimes rail at the humorous side. My column can be just a tad too strong for them. But I do regard it as part of my role to shake the complacency out of such people - hopefully the touch of humour puts the point across better!
I well remember one of the letters of complaint about one of my columns that began: "Is Stephen Bubb really trying to wind me up?" It was tempting - though I resisted - to reply: "Sole purpose of article."
Part of the aim of these columns is to promote the professionalism of the sector. As the sector has grown in its influencing and delivery role, we need to pay constant attention to how we can do things better. We must strive to bring a commercial, professional approach to our vision and ideals.
There are some tremendous leaders in our sector. I know only too well from my Acevo members the power of a combination of professionalism and idealism. It is what makes the sector great. When it comes to leadership, we are streets ahead of the public and private sectors. It amazes me how good our leadership is when we spend so little on professional development for our managers.
So if I write about the need to sack people as well as the need to develop them, to deal harshly with lazy approaches while rewarding and promoting talent, this is because we must condemn complacency. Just because we are the voluntary sector, it does not mean we should condone sloppy practices.
I would love to know exactly what your trustees have been saying to you.
Indeed, I look forward to receiving a question from one of them - and, everyone, please keep the questions rolling in.
And, in the meantime, I wish a very happy, peaceful and blessed Christmas to all readers. No-one can ever accuse us of not working too hard (or ,indeed, being paid too much!), so enjoy the break. And if we are opening a bottle of champagne on Christmas Day, let us all raise a toast to a prosperous 2005 for leaders in the third sector.
- Stephen Bubb is chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo).
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