In this latest podcast, Robert and Toby have pivoted away from M&A disaster stories and moved towards an examination of leadership? Why you might ask.
Well, in all of Robert and Toby's experience, good leadership (or bad leadership for that matter) has been the instrumental factor in whether an acquisition is successful. So that got the dastardly duo thinking about what exactly defines leadership? Are good leaders simply born that way or can people be developed into leadership?
The answer is both. Leaders are born and bred, in a combination of nurture building on nature. There does appear to be some sort of raw material that contributes to leadership, which leads to quite different capabilities and outcomes as education is added.\
Looking at famous artists could help you understand this distinction. Although everyone can learn to draw, not everyone may become a Picasso or Monet, a da Vinci or Caravaggio — and that is probably a good thing. Can you imagine a city full of world-class artists all wielding their brushes and their temperament? It is worth remembering that the great artists nurtured their talent, studied their craft, and honed their ability over many years.
By analogy, leadership is somewhat the same. It is a combination of some sort of raw material, combined with a life of learning. In this sense, leaders are bred, or created, carved out of the stone as they grow through life. Leadership is nurtured, built on nature (which creates a significant responsibility for organizations).
Some people who occupy leadership positions rely on natural talent and then reach a ceiling — much like the bright student who coasts through school, only to come to grief when they find they have not developed the habits necessary for advanced study. They rely on their towering height or authoritative voice to look and sound like a leader, while the actual skills of leadership remain uncultivated.