On Leadership

I’m having an interview tomorrow to formally become a “Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow” and be part of NHS Innovation.

To be honest I don’t know if I’m already in as I’ve already been invited to the NHS Innovation Expo (for free!) this week.  Nonetheless, I suppose it is a formality that I have to go through.

I received a brief for the interview and I will be asked questions on leadership, innovation, my current start up etc.

The leadership question seems to be the hardest to answer in my mind!  What is leadership and when have I actually leaded people?

There is definitely one instance in my life where I have truly lead people.  This was actually when I was in high school.  I was a guitar player and loved heavy metal and rock music.  Because I went to a high school that was up its own bum and had delusions of grandeur, this was generally frowned upon.  I wasn’t playing the “right type” of music and wasn’t learning music in “the proper way” as I refused to sit exams for it (I play guitar because I love to play, not to get a certificate saying I can play).

When I was 16, I don’t know why, but I decided that we needed to throw a rock concert.  I told my band about it and we got to work.  Later in the year we played to a full house.  We had about 6 or 7 other bands play as well and we were the final act.

It was the most successful concert in the history of the school and we raised more money for charity than any other school concert before it.

Looking back at it, it seems absolutely nuts that we just decided to do something and did it.  People were so convinced in our certainty and conviction that things just naturally fell into place.

I suppose more recently, with my start up, I have been doing the same things without even noticing.  People are doing things for me, for no real objective reason.  They believe in my conviction and certainty.  It’s almost like I’m selling ether…

Perhaps that’s what leadership actually is.  It’s the ability to sell ether.  To get people to believe in you for no real objective reason.

The last thing I’ve realised is that to lead, you have to put yourself out there….things might not work.  Being a leader means you have to put yourself out there and if you fail then accept full responsibility.  I guess this last point is why most  people aren’t leaders.  Not many people can accept criticism and put themselves in that vulnerable place.

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