‘Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and discipline . . . Reliance on intelligence alone results in rebelliousness. Exercise of humaneness alone results in weakness. Fixation on trust results in folly. Dependence on the strength of courage results in violence. Excessive discipline and sternness in command result in cruelty. When one has all five virtues together, each appropriate to its function, then one can be a leader.’

Sun Tzu

I really like the above statement as it underpins my own belief in what leadership actually means at the highest levels.

For me

Intelligence is about learning the skills required to be a leader,

most of which are actually contained in the teachings of others.

‘We attracted accolade for our innovation. But in truth the seeds of all our ‘new ideas’ had been planted in the pages of oft-forgotten or obscure campaign studies”.

Intelligence is about understanding the need for planning, logic fact and study.

Trust in oneself and others is paramount this comes from putting

ones self on the line and being able to honestly talk about our

strengths and weaknesses with out fear.  Trust is fragile and with trust comes the requirement to be authentic (what we say, feel, think and do are the same thing).  Our ability to trust others also instills confidence and a desire not to let someone down.

“Always trust but keep your hand on your sword”

Humaneness

The ability to understand and connect to the emotional component of the situation and how it affects people.  The ability to inspire, know what is ethical and right and ensure you are able to see the situation from another perspective.

Courage – A simple but powerful word and “with courage all values are safe”.  With courage we can achieve anything and recently I spoke with a woman who listened to my use of the word and the very next day walked into her boss’s office to clear the air on something that was very important to her but she had been avoiding.  Courage is also important in holding ourselves and others to account for what we have promised to deliver.

Discipline is always required to achieve success.  Our ability to stay focused, our ability to set standards and measures and hold to them.  The discipline to hold true to our purpose will always be necessary in leadership.

One thought on “

  1. “Always trust but keep your hand on your sword” reminded me of Sir Francis Drake’s approach. where being part of a greater cause provides a security blanket in adversity. As in his historical and in effect entrepreneurial example, it is “always useful to have a sword in one hand, a Bible in the other and a good eye to the main chance.”

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