Mike Blackburn, chairman, Greater Manchester LEP

Photo of Mike Blackburn of Greater Manchester LEP holding his award and a sign saying 'well done!' at the IoD Director of the Year Awards

Every day during the Christmas holidays we are profiling the winners of the recent Director of the Year Awards. Mike Blackburn, chairman of the Greater Manchester LEP won the Non-Executive Director of the Year award

Set up in 2010, the Greater Manchester LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) is pushing its vision of a new model for sustainable economic growth for the city by 2020. As non-exec chairman, Mike Blackburn played a key role in high-profile successes including the formation of the first enterprise zone in Manchester at Airport City with the creation of 2,000 jobs. Here he talks diversity and Brexit…

How has your leadership style evolved? With more experience I’ve learned to be a better listener and to be adaptive. There is often more than one way forward.

What has been your biggest challenge? I’m not naturally confident and I didn’t realise people valued what I could offer. So it took me a long time to develop belief in my own skills. I started by taking some small steps into the unknown and slowly my confidence has built.

What’s the key to building a great team? A diversity of skills and people, plus a common set of objectives.

How are you feeling about Brexit? There is a high degree of uncertainty, therefore this is a great time for leadership. I am being positive about the future by putting forward ideas and opportunities for business growth, and connecting those to people and places.

What should government do in 2017 for business? Work with progressive people around the UK to develop industrial strategy. Don’t decide from the centre and expect it to be appropriate.

 Director of the Year Awards – our coverage starts here.

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Director magazine

Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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