One way or another, we’re all inspired by past leaders. I don’t mean Winston Churchill here. Nor Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King or Aung San Suu Kyi.
I mean leaders we’ve personally known; such as, for me, Mrs Greensitt. In the comprehensive system of the 1970s, she was both my French teacher and the school’s librarian. She insisted on punctuality, neatness and discipline. She’s the reason I enjoyed French so much and she can take full credit for inspiring my passion for words.
Or how about my news editor, Mike? Nothing, but nothing phased him. He approached every news assignment calmly, quickly cutting to the facts and setting the context for the story. He also instilled in me the golden rule of deadline.
Then there’s Bob, one of my PR bosses. His handling of journalists was outstanding, his ability to navigate a strategic course for a client exemplary. He taught me the importance of building and maintaining relationships and why communications was never about the short term fix but the longer game.
And in the NHS? Well, I’ve learned from some amazing people. From the staff who can see a better way to do things and make it happen, to the board directors who can motivate and lead a whole workforce.
I am part Mrs Greensitt, part Mike, part Bob, part others. And just as they inspired me, I am acutely aware that I too am a role model for those who work with me today. I love our Olympic strapline – inspire a generation. But for me, there’s also something about generations that inspire.
We have a responsibility as today’s leaders.