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Welcome back to Leadership Insights for 2022. I’ve had a good break where I had a chance to think about nothing, and in doing so had the freedom to think about many things. It was awesome! That said, I’m so glad to be back with you and I look forward to sharing ideas each week on how to lead, live and work differently.

I want to kick off with what is one of the biggest themes I’m seeing for this year, and it’s around leadership.

There is a hunger – a demand – for leadership that can be trusted.

This is going to be essential for responding effectively in 2022 – for civil sector, business, government and NGOs. This is because leadership is critical to break through the apathy and fury people are feeling.

This brings me to my next point: There is a popular narrative peddled that people have given up on leadership – that we are cynical, jaded, disillusioned.

My take on what’s really happening? People are only cynical and disengaged because they care very much, and counter to the narrative, are looking for leadership, desperately. They are hoping to see it show up. This is true politically – but it’s also very true for our organisations and institutions, and that’s what I’m writing about here.

More people than ever have their antennae tuned for leadership that can be trusted. There is a hunger – a demand – for leadership that cuts through. That is ethical. That will deliver. Such is the current lay of the land – the paucity of what’s on offer – that most people only need a few crumbs.

People don’t need much – but they really truly need something. And they are looking to you to provide it.

(And I do mean you – whether or not you are leading an organisation, each of us is called upon to lead in a way that brings hope and a way forward.)

The shellshock from recent years, the personal tragedies, the exhaustion, and the outlook means that even a little effective leadership will go a long way.

There is a clamour for:

  • Leaders who have a vision for a better future for all – not just for a few.
  • Leaders who activate and empower leadership in others.
  • Leaders who keep their word – and are transparent if what they promised can’t be delivered. When that happens, they are up front in communicating that.
  • Leaders who also focus on longer term thinking. They look beyond the short-term – but – they are not blind to what is happening in people’s lives in the here and now. These leaders balance the two.
  • Leaders who are prepared to roll their sleeves up and do the work – and be seen to do the work.
  • Leaders who get you – they are you. There is no fake empathy.
  • Leaders who can be absolutely straight with you – and in doing so, instil the sort of hope that only candour can.

Any other kind of leadership isn’t sustainable in the world we now live in. Those leaders bluster on – but their time is over. They just don’t know it yet.

What are you seeing in your organisation when you look out into 2022? How are you supporting this brave leadership in yourself and others? Have you too noticed a complete inability to entertain sophistry, dissembling and cowardice in leadership – your own or others? I know I have.

I’m on for a huge year. My new book Lead In comes out next month. I’m on a mission. We need to remove the barriers to effective action that is heart-centred, wise and brave.

Thanks for standing there with me.

Till next week,

Much love