John F Kennedy is often quoted on leadership, and of the many important things he said, one of my favourites is the quite simple but profound ‘leadership and learning are indispensable to one another.’ A recognition that no matter how experienced a leader is, or how successful they might be, there’s always room for improvement (at least, there is for those with humility, more on that later) and to strive for continuous refinement in our art form should be every leader’s personal mantra.
Looking at the leadership styles and strategies of some of those considered the world’s greatest leaders has always been a bit of a hobby of mine, if you’re going to have a leadership lesson, it might as well be from the greatest, and a bit like Malvolio in Twelfth Night (though hopefully not as duped or vainglorious) have come to see that yes indeed, “some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon ’em“.
Of course, Shakespeare was writing in times of Kings and Queens, and a monarch was born ‘great’ because they were expected to become the leader of a country, and whether they were in fact, ‘great ’leaders per se is open to interpretation and debate. You know my views on Queen Elizabeth II from an earlier blog. I’d probably add Queen Elizabeth I to my list of great monarchs too (interesting, both female); whether King Charles III reaches these dizzy heights is still to be seen.