Wise words for developing leadership

seprator
03August 2015
Katherine Woods

Katherine Woods

Partner
This post is authored by Katherine Woods, Partner. Full bio →
Katherine Woods

Recently, I spent two days at the 7th Developing Leadership Conference held this year at Henley Business School. The forum attracts academics from around the world to present the latest research on leadership development.

I attended the conference for two reasons:
1. To start to share the findings of our research into meetings, which we have been compiling from client meeting culture diagnostics.
2. To learn because I find these events are a great place to listen and reflect, which really provokes my thinking.

Loving the world of pracademia

I consider myself to be a ‘pracademic’ – someone who practices in the meeting culture field with an interest in the academic work being done to learn more about how organisational culture is impacted by meetings. I therefore found many of the papers a bit rich in the  ‘rigor over relevance’ perspective.

However, the highlight  for me was meeting and hearing John Adair from the United Nations, speaking about the field of leadership and whether leadership can be trained. I found his breadth and depth of experience inspiring, particularly when combined with the humility with which he offered his views. I loved the way he provoked the audience. It takes a confident man sit in front of a group of leadership development experts and question whether leaders can be developed!

I took two nuggets from John Adair’s talk, which I gladly share with you, as they sit well with my personal views on leadership:

  • The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit greatness, because their greatness is within them.
  • Remember that your position does not give you the right to command. It only lays upon you the duty of living your life so that others may receive your orders without being humiliated.

Wise words indeed.

If you would like to discuss John Adair’s talk, or other ideas explored while exploring leadership development, give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form and tell us a little about your leadership issues. We are happy to explore leadership with you.

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