What makes great leadership? It’s a question we’ve been shouting from the rooftops in recent weeks with a simple intention: to get people thinking. At The Institute of Leadership & Management, we’ve been driving the agenda of ‘great leadership’ since 1947, but what does that actually look like?
With our ‘What makes great leadership?’ campaign launching shortly before the Coronavirus pandemic became a glaring reality in the UK, our message hasn’t been heard or seen as clearly as it could have been in less uncertain times. But rather than put down our tools, it felt right to continue to challenge perceptions of great leadership and encourage all of us to engage our thoughts at a time when our skills as leaders are arguably more important than ever.
You may have experienced the campaign in action either online, in your inbox on the move in London or through conversation. But wherever you made the connection I truly hope it inspired you to take a moment to consider what great leadership really means, especially to you and those around you. Going a step further, it just might have encouraged you to share this thought with others to help them inspire great leadership as well.
As we challenged if great leaders ‘think or feel’, the response was overwhelmingly clear that people thought the two approaches should be used in equal measure. Other messages divided opinion, such as asking if great leaders ‘push or pull’; it seems many of us have different experiences to talk about, with some positive and others not so.
But the deliberate ‘trick’ in the campaign was challenging if great leaders are ‘born or made’. We have a clear stance on this at The Institute, of course, recognising that leadership capability can be gained and developed over time, and with practice. I’ve been humbled to hear through my own conversations and from our online interactions that the vast majority appear to agree. It’s been fascinating to re-spark that train of thought and witness some real passion around the subject, from people who may not have been inspired to do so previously.
So, what makes great leadership? It’s in us all to keep questioning, challenging and developing ourselves to make informed decisions and become the better leader we’re capable of becoming. As the campaign comes to an end, for now, I hope we have at least demonstrated the inclusive nature of leadership and our desire to inspire great leadership, everywhere.