“Be willing to take a risk” Maria Manion, Chief Executive at Watford BID talks to us about Leadership in 2019

As part of our commitment to adding value beyond the connection, we have been speaking with CEO’s, COO’s and HR leaders across the UK. We wanted to understand more about how they developed careers, the challenges they face and how they have achieved their success.

This week, we spoke with Maria Manion, Chief Executive at Watford BID. We asked Maria a few questions about her current leadership role and to offer some insight into the sector. Maria was a Regeneration Manager for different district and city councils, and was most recently Town Centre Manager of the Watford Borough Council before setting up and heading Watford BID.

What would you say were the three most important leadership capabilities to be a successful leader in 2019?

“Creativity and being open. Sometimes you can get bogged down in process, but you can always do something if you really want to just by being a bit more creative about your approach.”

“I think sometimes it’s about an intuitive understanding of the environment that you’re working in. And I do think that’s an undefined thing that leaders tend to have. It’s intuitive adaptability. It’s almost like being a chameleon.”

“The third one is to be quite flexible, innovative and not to be scared. I think fear actually cripples a lot of people. Be willing to take a risk”

What challenges are you facing from a leadership capacity? Are you seeing any changes taking place from a leadership or recruitment point of view?

“This is a very hands-on organization. It’s only a small team. We’re quite limited on the salaries that we offer, which means that we have to really look at people who love the job more than the money.”

“I think recruitment is difficult, but that might be our proximity to London. We’re very close to London, but we’re not London. When I recruited for the Marketing Manager, I interviewed people who wanted to get out of London, and that was the wrong motivation for the post.”

“We need to balance salaries and the demands of the business with the post and the individuals, ensuring the job is attractive to the right calibre of person – with the right motivations.”

Watford BID started trading in 2016 with Maria at the helm. Maria will continue with her role until the end of BID’s five-year term.

If you are interested in having a confidential conversation about your career or would like support growing your team, please get in touch today.

Subscribe for more content

“Be willing to take a risk” Maria Manion, Chief Executive at Watford BID talks to us about Leadership in 2019