What’s the best piece of advice on leadership you’ve been given?
One is: “Good leaders have good people around them, and work tirelessly to develop the people around them”. That gives the leader time to think about the business and work strategically. Also, great leaders never duck difficult decisions. That decision you want to put off and know you might not be popular for making – but you know it’s the right thing to do – you make it.
How important is top-level leadership?
There have been a lot of changes in leadership at Barclays over my career. The positive of that is when change happens, you get fresh ideas, new ways of looking at things, and fresh impetus. One of my strengths is that I have tremendous corporate memory and – after 34 years – know the organisation inside-out. What I lack, I suppose, is an outside view. And if you’re bringing new people into the business at a top leadership level, they can bring that freshness in. The balance is you need a degree of continuity. New ideas come in, but Barclays is a supertanker, and if you change direction too frequently the supertanker starts moving in different ways. So, you need new ideas, but at the same time you need continuity. It’s a balance.
How much have your family influenced your work ethic and leadership style?
My family’s influence on me and my values is huge. My mum and dad – my father in particular, who worked down a pit in Barnsley – had values to be true, and I’ve taken that right though my career and I always hold those values dear to me.