Developing Leaders Issue 31: 2019 | 29 Viewpoint T he world is awash with leadership advice, and research from countless business schools and consultants frequently list out the key characteristics of good leaders. These tend to fall into two categories, the ‘lead yourself, lead your team, lead your organization’ approach, and then the long list of ‘set clear objectives, communicate well, build trust, be adaptable, empower your team….’ to do lists. Neither of these approaches are wrong – but both fall foul of the tendency leadership developers have which is believing most people roll out of bed in the morning thinking ‘I’m a leader, so what must I do to lead today?’ The truth is most of us do not envision ourselves as leaders, but rather as doctors, bankers, nurses, publishers, engineers, marketers or whatever we may be – and we start our days checking off the things left undone from yesterday that still need to be done and prioritising the ‘to do’ list of things to be done today to allow normal service to continue. We have very little time to reflect calmly on our leadership style and actions. Leadership programs are highly valuable in that they create space in frantic schedules where this reflection can be achieved, but they too suffer from the downside of all formal classroom learning – the severe limitation of what we can remember. The German psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus described his ‘forgetting curve’ in the 1870s, and our brains have evolved very little since then – our ability to retain new Risk & Permission The Core of Good Leadership Today By Roddy Millar