I listened to Andrew Marr's interview with Barack Obama yesterday. For me he embodies what leadership is all about. Clear, strong values. Calmness in adversity. Sensitivity to human feeling. An ability to raise others and paint a big picture - but also a clear eye for detail. Toughness when required but also persuasion as the main weapon.
When I was a CEO, I didn't always rate myself as a leader that much. I could, I think, inspire people, I could build a picture - but I never felt sure enough of myself as a manager of people. I need to be liked that little bit too much. People, I think, found me just the wrong side of flexible - a bit of a pushover. I also flapped quite a lot, sometimes not very privately either. Painfully aware of my weaknesses, I always felt like an actor who had only learned half his lines.
I know this isn't unique. I know all CEOs feel, to some extent, frauds waiting to be unmasked. I know few that ride that delicate ...more