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.