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Are Leaders Born?

THIS episode explores the qualities of leadership and asks if leaders are:’ born or made, is it nature or nurture?’

The conclusion is that whilst some people are born to lead the skills can be learned.

It is not ‘one size fits all’ for making a great leader. Some are charismatic, some are not. Winston Churchill and Clement Atlee were both great leaders but as men as different as chalk and cheese, one ebullient and larger than life, the other quiet and dull but highly successful who left the legacy of the NHS.

Saf, believes that a good leader can ‘lead from the back’ and be an enabler who gets the best from others with the key being getting the right result for the organisation.

Leaders need to have honesty and integrity and should not be afraid to show their own vulnerabilities or change their mind if circumstances and information changes.

Perhaps most importantly, they should be good listeners: ‘If I have done most of the talking in a meeting then it has not been a good meeting.’

Having a good relationship with people is important: ‘it’s about being friendly but not necessarily being friends.’

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Safaraz discussed family businesses and says that these need not be problematic, providing there is proper accountability.

‘Large organisations want to create a ‘family environment’ and we talk about ‘the Pathway family.’ It is an organisation where people are going in the same direction.

But the role of a leader is to ‘move away from the day-to-day’ and let other people get on with their work and help them to become ‘better versions of themselves.’

But this is not about trying to change people.

“I don’t think you can change anyone unless they are open to change,” believes Saf.

One leader he would like ‘a coffee and a chat’ with is Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan and a highly successful Pakistan cricket captain. ‘He has learnt to lead and adapt to the environment he is in.’

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