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Leadership- a few thoughts

At a recent NCEE Entrepreneurial Leaders module in Oxford,

I made reference to the work of Prof Rosabeth Moss Kanter from the Harvard Business School- one of my favourite leadership and change gurus to share some thoughts on leadership. The following are a few brief notes on six actions that an entrepreneurial leader (or in fact any kind of leader) can implement to keep projects, change and innovation moving in a positive direction.

1. Show-Up

  • Be there- don’t be invisible- turn up and put energy into what you are doing.

  • Make yourself available - your presence makes a difference.

  • Don’t hide in your office or behind emails or meeting.

  • Get out and about - both within your patch and also outside the university.

  • Take control of your diary and prioritise these activities.

  • Be mindful of your followers and encourage them and encourage them to do likewise.

2. Speak-Up

  • Use the power of your voice and communicate with your team regularly.

  • Shape the agenda- be proactive to ensure progress.

  • Help people to understand what is going on- interpret and use language that is understandable to a wide range of audiences.

  • Be a thought leader - share ideas, don’t keep good ideas to yourself.

  • Be confident (even if you don’t always feel it) and credible- people often see what they expect to see.

  • Be the one to identify the problem and start to initiate ideas and actions- this helps to get things moving and keep plans on track.

3. Look-up

  • Look at bigger things and consider vision, values and beliefs.

  • Know what you stand for and communicate that.

  • Be enthusiastic and motivated and able to elevate people’s thinking from the day-to day operational ups and downs.

  • Avoid getting too bogged down in the details.

  • Be mindful of and nurture the talent around you.

  • Create opportunities and take opportunities.

4. Team-up.

  • Work with people.

  • Be prepared to empower and delegate to encourage innovation and risk taking.

  • Collaborate and develop partnerships.

  • Find partners who believe in what you are thinking and doing.

  • Embrace the power of the team and always remember the most important word in the leader's vocabulary is “we” and the least important is “I”.

  • NETWORKING is only one letter away from NOT WORKING.

5. Never Give Up

  • Innovation and change can look like a failure in the middle- but do not give up.

  • Projects and ideas hit bumps in the road, change-resisters and critics start sniping and raising all sorts of reasons and objections as to why things won’t work and can create all kinds of obstacles.

  • Be resilient and determined.

  • Communicate endlessly to get buy-in and to get people to commit.

  • Find a way around the obstacles- be creative and entrepreneurial.

6. Lift others up

  • Recognise and acknowledge others.

  • Delegate and empower others wherever possible.

  • Let others share the success-they will remember and will support you again in the future.

  • Elevate others and enable them to develop and grow from the success.

  • Celebrate successes.


Remember these six skills of leadership:

Show-up; Speak-up; Look-up; Team-up; Never give-up and Lift others up

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