New to blogging but becoming an expert

I would never have expected to become a regular blogger, but I am that manager that Phil referred to in his ‘Green shoots’ post.

I am the Head of Information Management and Technology for Adult Social Care in Leeds City Council. My role is very much about exploiting technology for business benefit. Procuring technology is major investment and in these times of reducing budgets and increasing demands we have to make our investment count. Alongside this, I lead a relatively large group of staff and am keen on how we work together, after all our people are the difference between success and failure.

Everything we do revolves around relationships and getting things right. So, with both these challenges in mind, when we got SharePoint as a new technology and I saw that it had the capability to ‘blog’, I decided that if I started to use it then it might get others to use it too. I’ve never been a keen writer or a very public character. I talk a lot, as those who know me will know! So taking the step of writing a blog was a bit scary. I had read a few and recognised that they are not such a formal communication. They are usually much more chatty and sociable in style and usually contain a message or a response to something current.

I took a deep breath and wrote something straight from the heart. And I got some really positive feedback; mainly in the kitchen when making a drink…….or in the corridor when passing. But it got a response. I decided to carry on and each week I have written a blog. In fact, I now quite enjoy it and can think of so many things that I can share with my staff team. It’s easier than I ever expected.

From the initial chats in the corridor, I started to get a few responses posted on the blog. Some even saying they look forward to reading it each week. Wow! This wasn’t anything like I expected. And then I had a few emails from staff who wanted to respond but wanted to tell me things they weren’t happy to share wider. I am convinced that they wouldn’t have done this had I not put myself ‘out there’. This was real feedback. Staff telling me from the heart what they felt; what issues they were facing and what would make a difference to them. I was overwhelmed. But having asked for feedback you have to make a commitment to do something about it. So I did. Being authentic and true is important. It is how I try to live and work.

Since writing my blog others have asked me if they can get an alert to it so they too can read what I am writing. I don’t mind if it helps them think about using the technology or the information I am sharing. After all, that’s one of my key aims. Another outcome which I think is related to this is a positive increase in the results from the staff survey about how engaged our staff feel. Blogging is about engaging and it is social. It’s scary at first and when I have talked to other managers they have said they don’t think they have the time or could write in this way. But hey……….if I can do it, I’m sure others can.

I never expected to be writing a blog that would be really public though. But as they say there’s a first time for everything.

Julie Oxley
Head of Information Management and Technology
Adult Social Care
Leeds City Council

2 Responses to New to blogging but becoming an expert

  1. greyone1604 says:

    Julie, the first steps are always the biggest and scariest (not even sure if that is a proper word). Keep writing from the heart and with honesty and integrity; others will listen, consider and respond.

  2. Fiona says:

    Thanks Julie, I quite often think about starting a blog, encouraged by colleagues like Phil Jewitt! You’ve taken your first step and it has inspired me further to dip my toe in the water! Fiona

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