It’s hardly surprising that when we speak and think about the practices which characterise world class leaders we tend to do so in a business context. After all, the majority of leaders sit within the world of business, although search leader or leadership online as we run up to towards the election and you may be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
But although many leaders may have the title on their door, there are vast numbers of people who sit both inside and outside organisations who by their very actions epitomise great leadership. For example, last weekend saw Paula Radcliffe running the London Marathon for the last time. The fact that she finished her run inside the 2016 Rio Olympic qualifying time shows what a great athlete she still is but it is her legacy which is the most impressive.
Writing in his BBC sport column Steve Cram said that Paula inspired millions and his comments were echoed across the press. But when it is said of top athletes or musicians or others that they ‘inspired a generation’ are we not really acknowledging that by their actions and determination and personality they have inspired and encouraged and shown the way to others. In fact have they not shown just those characteristics to which great leaders aspire?
Leadership comes in many forms and true leaders don’t have to have a formal title to inspire others to try something new or to engage with a project. Whether in business or in our personal lives, it is those who reach past the pure business context and appeal to our hearts who have the greatest chance of creating a lasting change.