Ruth Badger addresses the importance of leaders instilling a culture of trust as one local authority undergoes overhaul

Published by Scott Challinor on July 24th 2020, 7:00am

In the week where the long-awaited Russia report was finally publicised, the need for leaders to instil a mutual sense of trust has become more relevant than ever. Ruth Badger, the managing director of her own eponymous consultancy service, speaks to the Leaders Council about the need for today’s leaders to establish a culture of trust, while news had emerged from the south coast that the Green Party will take control of Brighton and Hove City Council following the resignation of three Labour councillors, two of which were accused of anti-Semitic behaviour.

Leadership in Focus

When Ruth Badger and her business, Ruth Badger Consultancy, were left staring down the barrel earlier on in the year of having to deal with a crisis in the shape of the Covid-19 pandemic, the key to ensuring that the business was able to adapt to such difficult circumstances was being able to rely on the culture of trust that she had built up within her company.

Speaking on the Leaders Council podcast, Badger said: “As the leader of my business my role is to set an example and create an environment where people believe in who they follow. I have been lucky enough to have mentors who have shown me the way earlier in my career, instilled trust and in that have fostered a sense of safety that I can be pushed and leaders can push those around them to do that little extra, while also being listened to and respected for the decisions that they make.

“When Covid-19 emerged, the inevitability is that everybody will look to the leader to provide direction. Leaders have to be selfless and have the trust of the people around them. I had to put others first and I always have and make sure that I provided a clear sense of direction of what would happen in the business and give every individual the level of care they needed to make sure they were motivated and reassured.”

The way that Badger was able to provide such a sense of direction and therefore fortify that trust between her and her staff was to forward-plan and ensure that employees are kept well informed throughout the lockdown period.

“I have been working on planning two to three weeks in advance and I have been thinking a lot about the months ahead and what happens when we come out of the pandemic. Strategic thinking is imperative.

“I have always been a communicator and it is one of the most important traits. We can recall in the early stages of the pandemic that the public was crying out for more information before the government began holding its series of daily briefings. I made sure that when we decided we would go into a lockdown and transition to home working, the staff would be reassured and communicated with.

“I also took the decision to furlough staff with 100 per cent of wages being paid. One of the biggest threats to business is retention and that is something we have really worked on in recent years. I have been following with interest how people treat their staff during lockdown because I feel some employers have used it to purge their businesses of so-called deadwood. Staff wellbeing and mental health are key issues for us and to capitalise on the recovery when we come out of the pandemic, we need people who are motivated and ready to go in the right frame of mind.”

Once again, Badger believes that keeping employees motivated ties in with a culture of trust.

She explained: “My staff have been kept updated on what is happening in the business. I would tell my staff if we were not doing well because then they would pull harder to get to where we need to be. All of that is down to trust.”

Leadership Today

Following the resignation of three Labour councillors, the Brighton and Hove City Council authority is set to come under the control of the Green Party.

The local authority is on its own mission to restore trust after councillors Kate Knight and Nichole Brennan resigned on Tuesday.

The council said that a number of complaints had been made to the Labour Party over Knight’s conduct on social media, and her standing down comes less than a week after the resignation of Anne Pissaridou who was also scrutinised for her actions on social media.

Labour now occupies 18 council seats compared to the 19 held by the Greens.

The Green Party said: "It is clear neither party can claim a majority to lead our city alone.

"We understand Labour are still divided and that some councillors have made clear their unwillingness to support a Green-led council. Residents will have no time for the luxury of parties debating 'seizing power'.

"Greens are keen to engage with our party membership, the Labour group and all partners to find the best way forward."

The council’s Labour group said in its own statement: "It is only right that Labour step aside and allow the Greens to form a new administration. This is in the interest of democracy and in the best interests of the city."

The former Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Nancy Platts, said that Knight’s conduct brought shame on the Labour Party.

Platts said: "On behalf of the Labour group, I am truly sorry to the Jewish community for the hurt these posts have caused."

She added that the council’s Labour group would establish a code of conduct that councillors must adhere to, which will set out details on how one should behave on social media and the importance of recognising content which may be deemed anti-Semitic in tone.

Leadership in History

On June 24 in the year 1567, Mary Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate. Her one-year-old son was subsequently crowned King James VI of Scots and would later become James I of England and Ireland following the union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603.

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The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a network of the most influential figures from across the country. Through detailed case studies, news coverage, podcasts and leadership events, we strive to unearth the authentic voice of British industry. Find out more about our Membership Benefits.

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
July 24th 2020, 7:00am

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