In Conscious Capitalism, John Mackey and Raj Sisodia write, ‘The best conscious leaders are merchants of hope and entrepreneurs of meaning. They continually engage their colleagues around questions of identity and purpose’. I love this quote because it sums up the difference between leadership and management. Of course, standing for something (or being ‘passionate’ about something, as you’ll sometimes hear it expressed) is only one part of leadership, but for me it’s a really important part.

When I was an employee, it was what I looked for in my leaders, what I bought into and what motivated me. I wanted to be part of something better (not necessarily bigger), something that delivered what it promised, that I could look back on and say ‘that mattered’.

As a project manager I had to learn how to do this by watching others. Through observing the good and the bad, I was able to determine what it was that I stood for, and I brought that to my role every day of the week.

Like others, I have been inspired by the stories of those who didn’t accept the status quo when they believed that the lives of others could be improved.

Emmeline Pankhurst believed that married women should have a vote in the British elections. She led the suffragette movement and went on hunger strikes to draw attention to it. She showed reactionary and inefficient political institutions little respect, which astonished them. She died in 1928, shortly before women were granted equal ...

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