There are over 800 million results given on Google if you search for 'Leadership' - that's a lot of thinking, and a lot of words. The vast majority will be the collected thoughts and experiences of consultants and managers. Few of them will have much that is new or ground-breaking about them.
The theory of good leadership is well understood these days. Ashridge Executive Education at Hult International Business School have identified 17 core abilities that top leaders see as under-pinning their leadership success. We will be publishing these in our next issue of Developing Leaders magazine but the top four are:
- Stepping up
- Taking key decisions
- Coping with increasing change
- Managing ambiguity
....none of which are very surprising. This underlines the point that leadership is not difficult in theory - but it is fiendishly hard in practice. Actually doing these things in the right way and at the right time is an art, that can only be done well if you a) remember to do it and b) practice it all the time. The large majority of good leadership practices go against the grain of human instinct, so we need to learn to confront our natural biases (of self-protection and preservation) and open ourselves up to include others participation and direction.
Over the coming weeks we at Ideas for Leaders shall be sharing some of the hard, evidence-backed research emerging from the world's top business and psychology schools on what works and why.
The most effective way to get started with improving your leadership skills is to heighten your awareness of the issues, this can be done by engaging in the conversation - so if you have comments and quesitons please do post them here - and we can build a discussion and archive of experiences from the banking and risk sectors on how performance can be improved that is directly relevant for you.