The leadership agenda has been big for some years and lots of funding has been allocated to developing the next breed of UK industrial pioneers. I have been fortunate enough to throw my views into the pot as a guest speaker on a number of Government funded initiatives, targeted at supporting entrepreneurs to develop their leadership capabilities. Whilst these bring value, in my view there is a missing link in much of the leadership theory. It was summed up wonderfully in a Napoleon Hill quote – “When a man can lead himself, he’s ready to start leading others” – never a truer word been said. So many people proffer themselves forward as leaders without having earned the necessary licence to do so – my view rather less eloquently stated than the master himself is – sort yourself out before you start with others.
Respected leaders that I have come across gain the respect of others based on the way they lead their own affairs – its what I believe to be the foundation of an effective leader – more specifically:
- Personal reputation – one based on strong values and ethics
- Track record for delivering
- Strong personal brand
- Good standing in the community
- Humility – treat everyone with respect
- Well balanced and self disciplined
Deeds not words underpin great leadership – follow through and deliver what you say you will deliver! Great leaders ensure they communicate what they have done and not just what they are going to do!