What do you think makes a good leader?
As a leader you need vision, and you need to bring your team into that vision. To do that you have to gain the respect, and more importantly the trust, of the team. Sometimes you have to do something that you think is vital for the success of the project, or is important ethically. And then as a leader you’ve got to say, “I’ve listened to you, I’ve consulted, but this is what we’re going to do”. Your team will accept that, provided they trust and respect you.
Do you think there is such a thing as a born leader or is it something that can be learnt?
I think a brilliant leader is born with that potential, but people who are not natural leaders can be brought along by a combination of good mentoring, good support, and what they learn on the job. I don’t think they’ll ever be great leaders, but they can be capable leaders.
How would you describe your own leadership style?
I think my leadership is one that is both consensual, in the sense I believe in bringing people with me, but is also focused and to a degree inspirational. So I have got that clear vision of what I want to do. I suppose in mountaineering it’s quite simple: to get to the top of that mountain. And you need to get that group of people with you to believe that they can do it.