Three Things You Need in a Leader

Timing is everything.  Even as British politicians sort through the confusion that is a hung parliament to arrive at a coalition government, a leadership conference was taking place well below street level, in the War Room used by Sir Winston Churchill to run operations in 1940.  This conference, staged by the The Said School of Business (Oxford University), included government, industry and military leaders in a forum designed to identify what it takes to lead in the modern world.

What did they come up with?  Well, as noted by the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the event, they identified these desirable traits:

  • a leader needs moral courage
  • a leader needs to be able to take risks
  • a leader needs passion

Although this seems to be a simplified list when compared with all of the scholarly literature on leadership, it speaks to me.  I admire it for its very simplicity.  In fact, if you can find these three things within yourself, you have what it takes to lead.  If you can’t?  Consider stepping back.


2 responses to “Three Things You Need in a Leader

  1. Great post! I spend two days last week at a conference focussed on leadership in the Engineering profession.

    While there was significant discussion on ethics, I do not recall any mention of passion nor moral courage – what a wonderful phrase! There was much talk of the need to communicate your vision but as the WSJ notes (correctly I believe), the emphasis needs to be on listening not on telling – the passion will do the job of selling your vision.

    • Hi Paul,
      Thanks for stopping by! I love your point about active listening and letting your passion sell the vision. I certainly tend to want to follow somebody who is invested and engaged vice following a checklist…


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