Who you gonna call
If an urgent problem emerges at a local authority, whose call should a senior director return first, asks Blair Mcpherson.
Take a chance on me - the recruitment lottery
Maybe we should just recognise that recruitment is a lottery and get rid of the whole recruitment industry, replacing it with a lottery whereby any candidate who meets the person specification is eligible, argues Blair Mcpherson.
Just very good at what they do
What do senior managers do when they are very good at their role but realise they are increasingly unlikely to fulfil their ambition, asks Blair Mcpherson.
The absence of the human touch
Blair Mcpherson ponders a recruitment software package to be used in conjunction with video interviews which analyse a candidate’s performance. He would rather place his faith in the traditional panel interview.
Who’s in charge?
Changes to an organisation’s management structure are attractive, argues Blair Mcpherson - but not at the expense of clarity about who’s in charge.
Who are you talking to?
Who you regularly sit down with and who you talk to one-to-one makes a difference and who gets to talk to who varies from one authority to another, says Blair Mcpherson.
The answer to the leadership question
Blair Mcpherson looks at how leaders have to come to terms with the apparent contradictions inherent in demonstrating leadership behaviour.
All managers have to anticipate
Managers need to be able to distinguish growing problems from everyday problems, says Blair Mcpherson
Throw the officers under the bus
In the wake of the events leading to the Darroch resignation, Blair Mcpherson says local government officers, like civil servants, are expected to provide impartial advice rather than tell politicians what they want to hear - and that means giving unvarnished assessments of proposed partners or contractors.
A bad influence for the better
Blair Mcpherson explains why it could be a good thing for a manager to be a bad influence.
Still the right person for the job
Blair McPherson outlines the virtues of staying put, of resilience, and of not playing the blame game.
Do no evil
Defining integrity is easy, says Blair Mcpherson. The difficult part is applying it in a complex political environment such as local government.
What a good manager looks like
Assessing the effectiveness of senior managers is not as simple as examining their track record, according to Blair Mcpherson. How do you separate out the effects of available resources, inherited talent, local circumstances, quality of the board and luck?
In space no one can hear you laugh
Each team needs a member 'who is a bit of a comedian, a mediator and peace maker, who takes the tension out of a situation and replaces it with a smile', says Blair Mcpherson
The £1m question: How corporate are you?
As we approach the end of the financial year senior managers anxiously request projections. Will the budget be overspent or underspent? It will be one or the other, says Blair Mcpherson.
The prospect of working somewhere where the aim is more than survival is tempting.But Blair Mcpherson remembers the wise words of his mentor - which prompted a renewed appreciation of the positive aspects of his role.
Who will protect us from the bullies?
Where there is a bullying problem there is also a lack of confidence in HR to tackle it - and it is their role to police personnel policies and ensure fair play, argues Blair Mcpherson
In the real world those with an independent spirit, a willingness to challenge authority and the courage to back their own judgement do move up the local government career ladder, says Blair Mcpherson.
Opinions are essential for senior managers
It is essential for senior managers to be opinionated while not having a personal view, argues Blair McPherson
Social work is a special case
If the rubbish bins aren’t collected and pot holes aren’t filled, the public protests will be long and loud, but no protestors would say these should come at the expense of safeguarding children, writes Blair McPherson.