Paul Hargreaves: Redefining good leadership
It seems to be that the pandemic crisis has been a searchlight on leadership. We have seen very poor leadership in the business and political spheres, together with lots of great, human, empathetic leadership in other places. I can’t help thinking that the business leaders and politicians who have demonstrated more of their humanity will be repaid after this is over. We are, I believe, in the process of redefining what is good leadership.
You see, many of us have a very clear idea in our heads of what a good leader looks like, but for many of us this is clearly a wrong idea. For far too many years, most leaders have been men, and any women leaders have had to play by men’s rules, demonstrating more of their masculine characteristics than their feminine ones, Maggie Thatcher being a classic example. The strong, dominant, fearless, competitive, egocentric, type of leader we have seen too much of for this century and it is notable that those counties with the more macho type of masculine leadership have suffered most at the hands of Covid-19. Those counties with more empathetic leadership have done far better: Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand being a great example.
It is time for change. It is time for more female leaders than males. Yes to redress the balance, but in these current times, we need the feminine qualities of empathy and compassion more than ever. Any men in leadership should work on their feminine qualities too and men such as Justin Trudeau of Canada seems to be one. I have been using the time during lockdown to work on a new book. Forces for Good has been well received, but we need more inspiring leaders to take us there. I am looking at character and how to develop our character as leaders to be the ones to take us to the next level. Just looking down the list of 50 characteristics of good leaders I have drawn up, many of them are what you could consider as feminine qualities. So the book may be unbalanced and I don’t care, because we need more of the feminine in our leadership, like no other time in history.
Let’s lead with compassion and inspire others to do the same.