In this column, I’d like to reflect a little on the art of good leadership. Over the last few weeks, we have all watched the different leadership styles of political leaders. We have also become aware of the good leadership shown by individuals and groups in the wider community – be it health, education or business.
How do we define leadership – I understand it as the ability of persons or groups to guide individuals, teams or organisations towards the fulfilment of goals and objectives. In this sense, leadership is not only a set of personal traits but also a set of activities.
The next step is to consider the qualities that are inherent in good leadership. Different leadership skills and styles might be needed at different times, but social research suggests that fundamental qualities of good leadership are constant. These include integrity, accountability, empathy, humility, resilience, vision, influence, and positivity. Each of these traits could be the subject of a column, but it is perhaps integrity that underpins the rest.
We look to leaders to guide us in our actions; thus, good leaders are role models for the people they lead, motivating them, supporting them and facilitating communications amongst them. It follows that for any organised endeavour, good leadership translates to long term success with high morale and a high rate of personnel retention.
Few would claim to be naturally gifted with leadership skills, but a skill also implies that, over time and with practice, we can acquire and refine the ‘art’ of leadership. In this world of lifelong learning, many of us have been, or will be, involved with some type of development or leadership program. Increasingly, community and sporting groups, in line with the public sector and private enterprise, are understanding the value of a skilled leadership team.
Indeed, irrespective of how we define the concept, leadership can prove to be a ‘difference maker’ between success and failure. The part played by the actions of local individuals and institutions in shaping the future of places such as Hilltops is also not to be underestimated. Place leadership is recognised as an important contributor to the effective economic and social development of a locality.
It is about how individuals or groups mobilize and coordinate transformative works that make a difference locally, as we respond to the challenges of our contemporary world.
I leave you with this final reflection: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’ — Margaret Mead
– Councillor Marg Roles
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