Alistair’s Story

Learn more about the Leadership Faculty project.

As part of Mustard Tree’s Leadership Faculty, I’ve learned a lot about myself: I’ve gained a better perspective on life, acquired new skills and awakened dormant ones. It has helped me to build my self-confidence and assertiveness in dealing with unfamiliar situations and has affirmed the need to form good working relationships based on trust.


The photo of the Manchester Wheel was taken on my way home after the leadership group’s very first day together. I was full of excitement and anticipation, but also felt anxious and overwhelmed. The picture reflects how small I felt, stood at the bottom of this huge structure. The wheel, like my time on the leadership course, represents a journey, one that would eventually return to its starting point, but with a new and enhanced perspective.


The shed photo was taken whilst exploring the Mustard Tree Garden. We were planning how to make it a more versatile, low-maintenance space – a project designed to aid our learning. The vast amount of different tools available signifies the variety and richness of the learning on the course. The many different aspects of management & organisational behaviour covered have had a significant effect on my day to day approach to life and work. The coaching aspect of the course was also of great help. I chose to work on my confidence and assertiveness, something I’ve always struggled with, but more so in the last couple of years. I am delighted with the progress I’ve made. My increased confidence, along with the learning from the programme, has been recognized by Peter, my manager, who has increased my responsibilities at work as the trusting relationship between us developed.


The third picture shows Arthur and Claire, two of our volunteers, outside the Eccles shop. Claire is giving Arthur a crocheted blanket that she made for him. Friendships like theirs, formed through volunteering, are significant and purposeful, and it is satisfying seeing them gain the same buzz from volunteering that I do. A large amount of my job involves understanding people and bringing the best out of them. Learning about motivational theories and understanding effective team dynamics were skills that I had in my ‘shed’ already. Covering them in more detail has allowed me to look at how I can apply them with our large, ever-changing volunteer base.

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