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Being a leader

4 qualities of a leader

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There are a grazillion lists of leadership qualities compiled by those who seem to be able to exactly define what it takes to be a leader. Yet, in my experience, the ability to lead is a shape-shifting un-bottle-able mist.

Nevertheless, here are four very general qualities that I reckon a good leader does indeed require, which I found myself think-doodling about during a presentation given by Hogan Assessments at the recent e-ATP conference in the Netherlands.

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The Radical

What is a Radical?

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The Radical by @bryanMMathers is licenced under CC-BY-ND

Speak out. Listen. A radical must do both…

I was first introduced to Paulo Freire by my wife, who asked me to create some illustrations for her PGCE presentation. It influenced what I now call conversational thinkery – articulating something with a person’s bias thrown in, giving you clues as to what the articulation might look like.

I’m now trying to permeate the text of Radical Pedagogy itself, with my slow-reading eyes and picture-oriented brain…

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The A team

The A team

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The A team by @bryanMMathers is licenced under CC-BY-ND

This doodle was drawn without looking up the interwebs following a comment at the recent get together of WeAreOpen members. I’m pretty sure I must have drawn it as a kid. I remember noticing that this type of van with its fat wheels and wide wheelbase wasn’t seen on the roads of Northern Ireland. Which makes me think – the B team must drive a white Ford Transit…

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The Big Arrow

The Big Arrow

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This cloud is going to lift in 5 minutes.
I said it so often it became my punchline. A dad joke – only to be appreciated by other dads (and sometimes their wives).
We need to turn off the path somewhere near here to get to the top of the mountain.
Nothing says top of a mountain than a BIG FAT ARROW.
(from two families up a mountain near the summit of Black Combe, Lake District, UK)

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The long burn

the long burn

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A cracker of an idea. A business idea. I should start a business with this idea right now. Figure it out in my spare time and then just set it up…

For me, startup never happens like this.

It starts with a hunch, a curiosity, almost an irritation. So much uncertainty. So many unknowns. It’s half-baked plan hinges on finding good people and figuring out how to keep them.

There’s a model that’s often peddled – multiple rounds of external funding with the hook of the big exit that’ll make everyone rich. And it makes sense – if you’re an investor. But I’m not comfortable with it, for every external investment is a big chain pulling you away from the “why” of your business. I don’t start businesses to make money. I start businesses to change the world or at least a few people’s world…

It’s a long burn.

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Catalyst of change

Catalyst of Change

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I had a very enjoyable conversation with Giles Anderton before Christmas, and this thought appeared. I see myself as a catalyst for change. But if I’m being honest, I realise that in the past I’ve been as resistant to change as the next guy – and not even for reasons I can clearly articulate. I once heard a Franciscan monk talk about setting your default position to any person as “yes”, as opposed to “no”. Maybe a similar attitude to change is also required (from me)? To go on a journey, your starting position really matters…

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