Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, gave an inspiring speech to students at Regent’s University London last night discussing the importance of good leaders developing the right people, catalysing action and setting priorities.
Mr Carney used this opportunity to share his thoughts on the four essential attributes of leadership: ambition, purpose, clarity and humility. Ambition however is not personal ambition, “but ambition for your organisation."
This message, he concluded, applies as much to the Bank of England and Regent’s University London, as it does to the latest start-ups in Silicon Roundabout.
Developing the right people within an organisation, Mr Carney said, “starts with recruiting widely.” In order to achieve this, he then emphasised the importance of tackling diversity as a business imperative and not just an HR policy.
On the final essential leadership quality – humility, he said good leaders must admit their mistakes while seeking and accepting feedback from lessons they have learned.
“As a leader you also need to be humble about success and honest about failure. Humility and honesty are essential to authenticity … Being authentic means doing what you say, and people knowing who you are – including what you believe in, what drives you, as well as your strengths and, importantly, your weaknesses.”
Mr Carney concluded his discussion of leadership in a disruptive age with how we are too lead in a world of unprecedented globalisation of trade, technological advances, increased life expectancy and the loss of trust in the system by many citizens.
“Define your purpose and stick to it obsessively. And remember that purpose, including in business, must be grounded in the objectives of clients, society and humanity.
“Do not confuse your leadership role with yourself or become addicted to the status and privileges of power. Rather, recognise that all leadership is temporary, that you will be custodians of you institutions and keepers of their flames.”
Regent’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Aldwyn Cooper, welcomed the audience highlighting the calibre of Regent’s students and their leadership qualities, “Our students lead in their chosen field no matter what that is”.