As a leader, you can’t change who you are. But you can change what you do

Leadership is even more popular than strategy. Here, it seems, we really cannot get too much. However, there is not much agreement about what it actually is.

There used to be a general consensus that leaders are born not made. Leadership in all walks of life depended on having the right stuff, and that was largely inherited. Given the number of books and courses about leadership, the consensus must have changed. Maybe we are just wasting an awful lot of time and money.

There is still little agreement about the qualities that make a good leader. Some believe they are universal, others that they depend on context. Some people emphasise intellectual qualities, other emphasise emotional intelligence. Some people believe that great leaders need outstanding moral qualities. Others believe that leadership is morally neutral and can be a force for good or ill.

However that may be, what matters in the end is not such much what leaders are as what they do. Many people in business have some sort of leadership role as well as some sort of role as a follower. Like it or not, we have to do it. So whatever our personal qualities and characteristics, we all need to try to do it as well as we can. We are told that it is different from management. It remains amorphous. It may be helpful to think more carefully about its component parts.