‘I am a firm believer that leaders are not born, but they are shaped and developed over time,’ said Neil Hart, executive head of the Mergon Foundation in the fifth episode of The Wonderful Leaders Podcast.
In this podcast, Neil talks about finding your leadership and he delves into three major leadership styles he has experienced and his perspective on each.
Leading from the top down
As an 18-year-old lieutenant in the army during a time of a crisis, Neil experienced first-hand the advantages as well as the limits of top-down leadership. Authoritative in nature, leaders who practice a top-down leadership style need to be able to make quick decisions and they usually give commands and directives without involving others in their decision-making processes.
Leading from the centre
Years later in business, and as the CEO of his advertising agency for about 10-15 years at the time, Neil realised that leading from the centre was more important to him. From his perspective, leading from the centre means leading out of values. If you can connect with the people around you on a values level, it’s much easier to lead than if you were leading as the CEO (once again, top-down leadership style).
‘Over those years in business I made an effort to try and lead from the core – from my heart to someone else’s heart. Even though I had authority to give instructions, I tried to change my leadership style to lead out of values and connect with people on that level,’ explained Neil.
Leading from the bottom up
The third leadership style Neil unpacks is leading from the bottom up – a leadership style he learnt much about when he was asked to lead a missions organisation. Neil explains that leading from the bottom up, or servant leadership, was a significant leadership trait Jesus demonstrated in his time on earth.
He says that one of the most effective ways to lead is to begin serving the Godly vision within someone. Leaders need to understand that each person is called for a purpose and when we start serving that purpose in someone from the bottom up, something significant starts to happen.
Over the years Neil says he’s learned a number of leadership lessons – one of them being the importance of raising up potential leaders. Leaders need to empower people around them so that when God calls them to move on, they’re ready to do so because they know they have raised up someone who will lead even better than they did.
Listen to the full podcast here.
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