First listen to the podcast below:
Anyone can be a leader, it’s a choice every single one of us can make. Effective leadership is essential, whether in or outside organisations. It is through leadership that we build a better tomorrow.
We think of leadership as a complex subject, but it is not, despite the effort of so- called ‘experts’ to complicate it. It’s about being authentic, doing the right thing in the right way, inspiring and enabling others to deliver.
We traditionally think of leaders as being at the top of organisations, controlling vast budgets and numbers of people, but leaders can and must exist at every level, indeed you do not need to line manage a single other person in order to be a leader.
Leadership is a whole life activity, you can lead anywhere; in families, with friends, in voluntary roles, in communities. A scout group or school needs effective leadership every bit as much as a multi million pound organisation.
Leadership is an inside-out activity. It can only start in the inner of three concentric circles (see page 8 of Lead Like Mary). It is in this inner circle that we lead ourselves, through taking control of ourselves, striving to be personally effective and modeling the behaviours we want to see in others.
It is only when we are effectively leading ourselves that we gain the legitimacy and ability to lead others in the middle circle. In this circle are those real people we have regular contact with: our team, boss and colleagues, our families and friends, people in community activities. We can play a leadership role in any or all of those groups through being authentic, listening, serving, helping, teaching, encouraging, enabling and, whenever appropriate, holding others accountable.
It is only when we are having a positive impact and driving change with others in the middle circle that we might even be able to influence change in the outer circle. Out there is everything else; your whole organisation, your community, society, ultimately the world.
If you want to change the world, or at least the world around you, you can only do it inside-out. It’s the only way.
Finally, effective leadership is essential in the conservation world. If we want to make the changes that are desperately needed, engage people, tackle the myriad of challenges we face we need leaders who are passionate, who are determined to make a difference, inspire and enable those around them, are entrepreneurial and are relentless.
Leaders who lead like Mary.