“Good leaders must first become good servants.”
Robert K. Greenleaf.
Developing Leadership Capabilities
Different definitions have been given to leadership, the action or ability to lead a group of people or organisation. Although I generally accept the view that a leader is an individual in possession of authority and influence, I do believe that this influence is situation specific. Furthermore I believe that an individuals personal definition and style of leadership develops over time; while I may have previously shown absolute commitment to an organisation or service, over time I have aspired to display greater similarities with Greenleaf’s (1977) definition of servant leadership, by putting team members at the centre of my focus through concentrating upon their development.
My leadership style may have been influenced by the variety of environments in which I have gained leadership experience, having led in both the public and private sectors, and in elite sport over the course of the past twenty years. Following a period of time in sport, I gained great leadership experience during my military career, particularly in a style appropriate to the command and control context in which I operated. Following this, I initially led commercial teams offering coaching and leadership training and was approached by a number of organisations and public services to talk about my own experiences, particularly the effects that the challenges posed by acquired disabilities have had upon my own approach to leadership. I observed dramatic changes to my leadership style over the period that coincided with coaching other leaders and managers. I believe that my management positions within the private sector and the deep self-reflection that took place in the course of designing and presenting personal experiences and learning packages to audiences had a great influence upon my personality and subsequently my leadership offerings. This was further emphasised during my leadership of change management projects within a Civil Service, undergoing transformation.