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Lets Focus on Leadership!

Lets Focus on Leadership!
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Shakespeare’s Malvolio in Twelfth Night was a gullible fool of a man, not a leader by any stretch of the imagination, but he was motivated to believe he could achieve greater things by the words of another. Though in this case the words were contained in a letter that was intended as a prank, but he believed it was a message from his employer: “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”.
Clever old Shakespeare showed how easy it is to inspire another by being positive. And these words, though originally intended merely to inflate an ego, resound in today’s desire for strong leadership in guiding the country through the recession.
I suspect few leaders are born with a complete skillset, but have innate abilities that help them along the way, such as good communication skills. A good leader is not just someone who can explain their ideas clearly, but who knows how to talk to different groups of people and gain their trust and co-operation. Ascension to the level of trust is also based on placing trust in others and being dedicated to the people around them and with whom they work.
Strong leadership is important across all areas of society not just in government, business and religion, and it needs to be accessible, if only to demonstrate that everyone has the opportunity to become a good leader in their chosen field. And a good leader is a non-egoist, leading by example and building confidence amongst her team through reward, praise and recognition.
My hope is that leadership skills become a subject of value in our primary and secondary education system. The media would have us believe that leadership is not a positive thing but is for an elite set of people who are out of touch with everyday lives, that it can be easily corruptible or vacuous. We are being sent a dangerous message that I feel can only be changed by positive example and education. Britain has an extensive catalogue of strong leaders from which to draw examples.
Arguably the greatest British leader in the last 100 years was Winston Churchill. He became Prime Minister in 1941 when the country was demoralized by a succession of setbacks in the second World War. He realised that he needed to raise morale and re-motivate the population, the military and his war cabinet. He delivered the first of his now famous inspirational speeches to his cabinet and to the people reminding them how great and long a history our island has and that we would not surrender. Churchill knew that to motivate the nation he had to focus on our positive qualities, he had the communication acumen to achieve just that – a lesson in how great leaders inspire greatness. His speeches revived Britain’s sagging spirits and the rest is history…


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