I’m just pondering over the news that Simon Duffy, the founder of In Control, has quit the organisation after an alleged Boardroom clash. Simon Duffy will be closely associated in many people’s minds as a major driving force behind the introduction of personal budgets. Many have listened to him speak passionately on the topic at various events over the past few years.
Simon Duffy’s departure from In Control – a social enterprise at the forefront of self-directed support – comes at a critical time for social care. Local authorities across the country are working to implement the personalisation agenda, and In Control has provided many with a model of good practice. The widespread introduction of personal budgets represents a significant shift in the way that services are funded and delivered, and it’s in the these times of change that calls for strong leadership are heard.
Simon Duffy is somebody who many would consider to be a strong leader: he challenges the status quo; provides a strong voice for people who may otherwise struggle to get their views heard; and speaks with conviction about the principles and objectives of personalisation. However, today’s report suggests that this positive side of leadership may also trigger discontent and clashes with others. Successful leadership seems to involve striking a balance between persuading and directing people, whilst enabling them to participate and share in the process of change. Ultimately, I suppose it’s about managing complex and messy human relationships. Is it really fair to expect all leaders to be all things, all of the time?