Social Skirmishes

Keith Sellick looks at the art of leadership

There has been much talk recently about leadership training in children’s services. So Backchat has found a variety of stimulating examples from the military, sporting and business worlds.

Here’s the top tips for would-be leaders.

1) Sun Tzu’s Art of War. The ancient Chinese general has been studied in business for years. He advised: “Be creative, do the unexpected, win without destroying.” He also wrote impenetrable aphorisms that will confound your adversaries – and your allies.

2) Carl Von Clausewitz’s On War (19th century) said that the best plans can and will go wrong and so a leader needs to delegate authority to skilled deputies who can cope with changes – and take the rap if anything goes wrong.

3) Niccolò Machiavelli wrote the definitive text on leaders: The Prince (15th century). A leader must strive to be loved
and feared, said Nick, but if only one is possible then it’s best to be feared. Violence was a key tool in the job. You
may have problems with the General Social Care Council with this advice.

4) Clive Woodward led the English rugby team to victory in the World Cup, 2003. He was noted for hiring the best backroom staff for his players. Therefore no cheap temp staff to support frontline workers.

5) The UK’s first woman prime minister Margaret Thatcher divided the country but led the Tories to power three times. She once likened her cabinet colleagues to vegetables. The council’s cabinet may not be impressed with this approach.

6) Finally, there is Barack Obama, first black US president. He won by talking about change and asking: “Can we do it”? He did, can you?

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