London Borough of Merton

Increasing Diversity in Leadership - Pilot Programme 2012-2013

Project Description

The programme aimed to inspire and nurture talented individuals from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds in the Community and Housing Department who demonstrated the potential to become dynamic and successful senior leaders of the future. It provided a pathway and tools to promote leadership, learning and development as well as career progression. Central to the programme was a formalised mentoring relationship with a senior manager within LBM to support the participant’s personal and professional development.

We have a strong business case to increase the diversity of our senior leaders to build a leadership cadre that is more reflective of the population we serve than is currently the case. The London Borough of Merton has a population of 201,400 – the 23rd most diverse local authority nationally and the 18th most diverse London Borough with a BME population of 37%. Of our 2,457 staff, 542 are known BME. However, only 6% is represented in the top senior management tier. Merton Council is missing the opportunity to utilise the talent of BME staff in senior positions. Over the next five years, I would like to see a change in the picture of leadership in the Community and Housing Department and influence the wider Council” Simon Williams, Director of Community and Housing – Programme Sponsor
“The Diversity in Leadership Programme has enabled me to learn more about myself. I feel liberated and ready to take up any challenges. I believe shared knowledge and experience from key members in the workforce along with Maureen’s diverse experience and knowledge made this course very effective. I strongly feel that Maureen’s calm but assertive and non-judgmental personality was paramount to the success of this programme.”
“The Diversity in Leadership Programme has given me a clear insight into the path to senior management and what it means to be a leader. I have learnt a lot about myself, my working environment and the external environment on a strategic level through the master classes, one to one and mentoring sessions and discussions with my colleagues. Thanks to Maureen Salmon, who created a conducive learning environment where we all felt comfortable to express ourselves, talk about our life experiences in an open manner and exchange ideas about how we can learn from them without feeling judged. Maureen’s style of facilitation was exceptional and unique; she tailored the sessions to our level of understanding which made it so easy for us to learn while having fun.
I have had an opportunity to meet with senior managers and create good working relationships which would not have happened in my normal working environment. I have analysed and reflected about myself to discover the talents I possess that I can put into action as well as the areas where I need to improve.
Generally, I feel like I am a different person to the one who started the programme as my overall confidence has grown significantly to the benefit of my team that I currently manage. I feel my future career prospects are much brighter now. Plans are underway to start a work placement as a result of this programme. I would certainly recommend this programme to any middle manager striving to join senior management. To be precise, it is one of the best learning opportunities I have had in my working life so far and I am ready to make it count for the rest of my career.”