Leadership is …

This week I thought I would return to a subject I have look at previously: leadership, and, more to the point, good leadership.  In a current very turbulent climate for business, there is a need, more than ever, for good leadership in business and politics.  I wonder how much authentic leadership is out there.  In very simple terms, there are three types of leaders and I will briefly go through these one by one

Firstly, there are the leaders when most of what they do is about their own ego.  You might call to mind two blond-haired politicians at this point, both with bad hair, one in the USA and one in the UK, where everything they do is about them and about putting themselves forward, rather than serving others, which is what true leadership should be about.  Don’t think that ego-led leadership is restricted to politics or even powerful business people. It can also happen in small businesses too.  The need to feed your own ego generally exhibits itself in people who are not secure in themselves and need to constantly have people say how great they are.  Most of their actions will be to make themselves look good and it can be a very controlling leadership.  In my experience I have had the misfortune to meet a number of people like this, mainly, though not exclusively, men.

The next leadership type is “doing leaders”.  These are generally hard-working people and can have very good motivations at heart.  They are often well-respected by their own teams and those on the outside, but their lives are a whirlwind of activity and dominated by their ‘to do’ list.  They tend to put tasks above relationships, are quick to judge and will also have a tendency to frustration or burn out.  They too may have low self-esteem and their frenetic activity can also be motivated by not feeling good enough about themselves, and constantly craving acceptance from others from their good deeds.  I can write with some authority on this one as I have been here in the past and encountered the burn-out more than once!

Finally, there are ‘being leaders’.  These are people who are secure in themselves, will work intuitively to a high degree, have time for other people and also allow time for themselves to charge up their batteries.  They will often be regarded by others as knowledgeable or wise and will have a queue of people wanting their advice.  Not rushed, they may still work very hard, but will look after their body, mind and soul by giving themselves ‘me’ time.  They may appear to do less than type 2 above but will often be more effective in what they do and will waste less time in fruitless activities.  You may guess that this is the type I suggest we all aspire to, and hope you agree with me.  The world needs less egos and more servant leadership.

There are a couple of chapters on leadership in my up-coming book, Forces for Good.  You can per-order it now on-line on most on-line book-sellers, and you are all welcome to come to my book launches, one of which is during the Farm Shop and Deli Show at the NEC on Monday 8th April.  For more information, please see www.paulhargreaves.co.uk

Paul Hargreaves is CEO of Cotswold Fayre, the leading fine food wholesaler in the UK and one of the UK’s founding B Corporations