As The Institute of Leadership & Management launches International Leadership Week 2020Leadership Everywhere; we are all leaders now’ (Nov 16-19), John Mark Williams, Institute Chief Executive believes that acknowledging the ubiquity of leadership is an important precursor to its effective development within organisations.

When The Institute wrapped up its inaugural International Leadership Week in November 2019, it could not have envisaged the seismic shifts that the world was about to experience and, as a consequence, how many people worldwide would soon be spearheading businesses from all points. The accelerated change brought about by the global pandemic has required many to lead from far-flung locations, interacting via technology where once they would have sat a few metres from their colleagues in a nine-to-five office environment. 

That nine-to-five, five-day-a-week office might be a thing of the past. Hybrid working, some in-person, some remote, is the favoured outlook. Leadership sans frontieres is now the norm – and will probably remain so as the workforce continues to remain relatively dispersed long after the pandemic fades. Yet, International Leadership Week enables a global conversation between our dispersed communities, unlimited by geographical boundaries, free to all, where all contributions from global thought-leaders, academics, authors and leaders and managers will be heard and valued. 

While the literal geography of leadership has changed radically, perhaps permanently, ‘Leadership Everywhere’ is about much more than place. Leadership Everywhere means exactly what it says: in every part of organisations, leadership abounds. Too little of it is fully embraced. In some hierarchies, leadership from anywhere other than ‘the top’ remains discouraged. In other places, distributed leadership is unseen and unrecognised – yet it is integral to the health and heartbeat of the organisation. 

The Institute of Leadership & Management’s mission statement is: ‘Inspiring great leadership. Everywhere.’ I am proud to have this year been appointed chief executive of a professional body that holds this thinking at the very heart of its ethos and that this philosophy is reflected in our theme at this year’s International Leadership Week. 

Our speakers’ topics this year have been inspired by the late Peter Drucker who argued that entrepreneurship was “behaviour, rather than personality trait”. The inference is that entrepreneurs, whether made or born, are defined by behaviour, not label – genetic programming is neither licence nor limit of business success. Leadership is similar. It is a series of interactions, not in-born characteristics, that lead to collective organisational accomplishment. 

This is crucial to understand, and to harness. The sixth principle of the Nine Principles of Agile Leadership holds that, ‘Leadership lives everywhere within an organisation’. If we accept that effective leadership is the precursor to performance, then leadership is a behaviour to be deliberately encouraged throughout an organisation, through motivation, support and reward. 

For that to happen, we need objective measures of leadership capability. We have multiple templates, frameworks, and assessments. However, other than actual performance, we don’t have an objective measure of leadership capability. Performance is dependent on many variables: the leadership quotient is almost inextricable from them.

This event convenes global expertise in the hope to address that gap. Now more than ever we need clear-sighted, enlightened, distributed leadership to guide us towards a sustainable, prosperous future. By coming together, we can build the necessary foundation to quantify great leadership. Everywhere. 

Book your FREE place here for International Leadership Week (Nov 16-19).