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Lessons in Leadership

England’s dismal performance at the World Cup and the chorus of calls for Fabio Capello’s head to roll got me reflecting on the importance of effective leadership. Whilst there were precious few examples of leadership on the field of play itself, many commentators feel that all was not well inside the England camp and that Capello himself is responsible for that. So, what can we (and Fabio) learn from leaders in the business world?

When Sheelagh Whittaker (currently a Director of Imperial Oil Ltd and Standard Life PLC) became CEO of EDS Canada, she prepared a series of provocative thoughts on leadership for her new boss. A number of these follow; useful thoughts on which anyone in a position of leadership (sporting, business, charity or public sector) should reflect.

  • A leader with vision and passion can transform a division, a corporation or a nation.
  • No one person is so brilliant that his or her ideas cannot be improved by trading thoughts with another smart person.
  • Decisiveness is not the same as being certain. I am often decisive; I am seldom certain.
  • It is important to remember that people’s behaviour towards you is not necessarily about you.
  • Those who violate your trust are the losers. An appropriate response is not to cease trust, but to place your trust elsewhere.
  • Unless you are sometimes prepared to change everything, you may end up with nothing.
  • You can get a lot more done with a few good people than you can get done with those same people hindered by some additional, unmotivated, misdirected or plain lazy colleagues.

What are your tips for effective leadership?

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