Bob Kerslake: knows what he’s talking about

Despite not knowing him and having never worked with him, Bob Kerslake’s is one of those names that is just known in government and local government (a bit like Michael Bichard).

He’s been in the news this week since he’s just been appointed as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government – an appointment I was delighted to hear about, despite not quite knowing why.

Anyway, with wonderful timing, yesterday’s Guardian Society has Sir Bob answering their Leading Questions. The answers are illuminating and something I intent to keep a note of. For example:

What leadership qualities do you need when making cuts?

The feedback we get from staff is a sense of honesty – people can live with bad news. A clear sense of direction about where you’re going to end up. Another is pace. If you say ‘we’re reducing by this amount’, it only makes sense to people when they see how it impacts them. There’s nothing worse than hanging around.

Do you have any tips for managers embarking on cost-cutting measures?

You have to be very honest and have direct face-to-face communication. You shouldn’t do things that you wouldn’t be happy to say directly to someone. You need to be as clear as you can be.

Well worth reading the rest.


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

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