Ann takes over the blog this week to outline her role as "Leader in Residence" with OrgCode and outline her passion to improve and develop leaders working to end homelessness.
Since Iain announced last week that I am coming on board with the team at OrgCode as a Leader in Residence, lots of people have taken time to welcome me back to the work of ending homelessness and to ask about what I might be working on. After a few months off, I found that I am eager to start working on projects that have two non-negotiable components: that the project is impactful, and that the project itself allows me to feel joy in my work. It has been a while since I have had the chance to actively choose projects that meet both of those criteria, and I am taking full advantage of the opportunity.
It has become crystal clear to me over the last several years that leadership at all levels is maybe the most important component to making positive and lasting change towards ending homelessness. And I am not talking about a cult of personality – sometimes confused with leadership. While a charismatic champion can often be seen as leading change, I have personally seen many instances where once that charismatic person leaves things fall apart because there is no structure to support the change and no other leaders empowered to step in and do the hard work.
No, what I am talking about is the getting-your-hands-dirty, making-the-tough-decisions, supporting-and-inspiring-the-people-around-you kind of leadership. Communities need more than one leader, and need them at all levels. That is how we make and support the changes needed to end homelessness, and how those changes become sustainable over time. Being a good leader is hard work that takes a good amount of introspection, humility and willingness to take risks. It is a responsibility and a privilege. And it is something that can change your life and the lives of those around you as well as those whom we serve. At least that has been my experience.
I can say that OrgCode’s Leadership Academies and other leadership development work – in my experience – are about all of the components that serve to build the human capital structure needed to end homelessness. Because they get that it can have a big impact. And helping people realize their leadership capacity can be a joyful process.
So while I am not on board as a full time staff member at OrgCode, what I hope we can achieve together through my residency is further development of real tools and thoughtful interactions that help us all find the intersection between joy in the privilege of our work and lasting and sustainable impact – through leadership development.