founder of naked leader
Time to Read: 3 minutes
Here’s another of our monthly articles, featuring business leaders and inspiring individuals. These are contributed by our journalist Clive Barrett and will be featured the last Friday of every month as we have moved away from the monthly Leader board ezine.
Academia in business versus practicality – amiable Linda Gray veers towards the latter every time.
In true Naked Leader ‘Just Do It’ spirit, Linda chooses to get on with the job in hand and make things happen.
Refreshingly, she doesn’t have time for status.
Regardless of any high-powered titles she may have inherited in her career, she just does a job, a role, to the best of her ability to ensure that her contribution to the organisation makes a difference and adds value.
And she clearly does it extremely well.
Aberdeen-based Linda is CEO of Inspire, a charity which runs a wide range of services for people with learning disabilities and additional support needs throughout the north-east of Scotland.
Founded in 1988, Inspire supports more than 400 adults and young people, providing person centred services.
Linda has been with the charity since 2009, having been involved in finance, HR, IT, property and corporate services, among others, in an organisation of approximately 500 staff.
While she may be a prominent female in business – having worked her way up from roles as Finance & Business Manager and Head of Corporate Services – Linda’s mantra is heartening.
She is simply being herself.
What better tip for any aspiring business person?
Her tool for achieving this is honesty.
“What works for me is being myself, not to have a facade when I come to work” says Linda, who took on her present positon permanently in April last year.
So what is Linda’s technique for being successful in her role?
“I like to think I am approachable and show empathy to people by understanding the complexity of their role and having respect for the work people do and what everyone brings to the organisation,” she says.
“At the same time I know I have a leadership role in a challenging sector and I need to ensure our organisation strives to be the best.”
Honesty is not so much a best policy for Linda, as the only one.
She maintains: “I feel sometimes I am maybe too honest and too transparent.
“But I remember something my mum once said to me when I was a young girl. To tell an untruth you need a good memory, to remember what you’ve said.”
So, being as good as her word is a main principle in her considerable list of admirable qualities.
“It’s about relationships and building trust and if I say I’m going to do something I make sure I deliver,” she says.
“I like communicating with people. At Inspire we’ve set out our strategic plan around what we want to do, and it is my job to then make sure that we do it.
“We have had a significant amount of challenges to work through in the past 12 months but with dedication and commitment we are starting to work through them.
“We can start to see things a bit more clearly. We have recently been awarded significant new business in a new area and that has been largely about having excellent relationships with our key stakeholders.”
Meeting Naked Leader founder David Taylor has had a positive impact on how Linda deals with leadership, David having delivered a workshop for Inspire’s leadership team.
“We look forward to his input to our wider managers in November,” Linda adds.
“I have David’s book close to hand and there are some real nuggets in there. There have been some leadership courses I’ve been on and I’ve walked out thinking, ‘what did they say?’
“With David I could relate to everything he said. It was motivating and we had a fantastic day with lots of laughs whilst tackling some significant challenges.”
Linda is so motivational too – and the charity name could not be more fitting given its leader is a woman who wants people to be the very best they can be, every day.
Written by Clive Barrett, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Clive, next month Clive is speaking to Estelle Brachlianoff Senior Executive Vice-President UK & Ireland, Veolia.
With my love and best wishes to you all