During the training Leadership and Municipal Management of The Hague Academy for Local Governance, the enthusiastic and motivated participants worked hard to polish their leadership skills and to add up to their knowledge about the topics they deal with on a daily basis.
The training kicked-off with an exciting and personal exercise; leadership styles through the system of ‘colours’. Yellow, red, blue and green represent various leadership styles and help to recognize strengths and weaknesses that come along with various styles. “I was very glad to know my colour as a leader, it will be possible to place people according their colours for strength & /or improvement of work to be executed. I know that each colour has its strengths and important to each other.
From leadership styles to municipal management, a little stop was made to focus on the importance and relevance of gender equality and the application of gender mainstreaming as a strategy in the daily work, in particular gender sensitive service delivery: “That we should look for gender equity and to keep the gender issue in mind especially when we plan new development projects in our cities”.
Next stop was the visit to Gouda Municipality, a typical Dutch town, known worldwide for its cheese. Impressed by the new municipal building and “The new working” system, which is more flexible and highly digitalized it “was nice to learn and see that practical organised municipalities is not just a dream”.
What is a participation broker? The study visit in Amsterdam gave new insight about creative ways in engaging citizens in the community and enabling two-way communications. Walking around the Eastern district of Amsterdam, the participation broker who is in constant dialogue with the community, inspired many by showing various community initiatives in a low social-economic neighbourhood context.
Another great highlight was the simulation session of Apollo 13, where participants enacted the NASA HQ at the launch of the rocket. Three groups reflected the so-called “back office” of the NASA (in reality the municipality) and faced a great challenge to enable effective team work in the first round of the game. After having learned to design a clear process, in the second round, the flight director (the city manager) managed to lead the team excellently and the team worked smoothly together to assist the astronaut (the citizen) with his queries and wishes.*
This was just a glimpse from the highlights of two exciting weeks of the training Leadership and Municipal Management. Throughout the training period, the participant reflected on each component of the training and attempted to use the acquired knowledge and skills to apply it to their personal plan, which needed to be dealt with upon return to their home countries. “The Back home action plan was most important part of the entire training. Without action plan and implementation plan the acquired knowledge is useless”.
* For a more elaborate briefing on this simulation session, please consult the lively blog of Paul Wilkinson, the trainer of Apollo 13 http://www.gamingworks.nl/dont-panic-trust-the-process/