The look of leadership

It’s a new year and a big year of identifying, voting for and judging leaders. We’re all looking for leadership in some way – but what does it look like?

The leader of a major company I know says nobody’s perfect and coping with mistakes, self-made or not, is key to leading others well. Ultimately, he says, no matter what our job is we don’t lead machines but people, so unless you make time to understand human nature you won’t be an effective leader. A job title may confer authority but not necessarily ability; leadership is learned and honed by practise. I’ve realised I’m looking for leadership most days and in most scenarios; I know it by how it looks, feels and the response it prompts.

An expert’s tip:
Lieutenant General David Lindsay Morrison AO is a retired senior officer of the Australian Army. He served as Chief of Army from June 2011 until May 2015. He recalls making a mistake early in his career due to lack of discipline in his approach whilst leading others. He was gently but firmly schooled by someone more experienced with this advice: “You are the legacy of everyone who has gone before you and their contribution and you need to ask yourself what your legacy will be.” He says he changed his outlook in that moment.

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