‘Quiet leadership’

It was a fine sunny day in Pater Noster Square. As I walked along, I was stopped in my tracks by the beautiful Elisabeth Frink sculpture that stands majestically on a plinth, some way towards the back of the Square. The sculpture shows a shepherd walking behind his sheep, arms held out with staff in one hand, and the other held as if to gather the sheep, as he guides them forward. I was struck by the power of this image. A representation that could serve for a ‘quiet’ leadership – one that is contained, watchful, connected to the external environment with an eye on the horizon, whilst also connected, to his followers. The leader walks behind his flock, leaving the sheep room to walk ahead and find their way forward with his guidance, so that their journey is created together – a joint enterprise. Cultivating a ‘quiet leadership’ requires that leaders recognise their leadership is in a dynamic relationship with followership, and that followership is an active contribution to a purpose that is shared. We need a repertoire of leadership behaviours. Isn’t it time we cultivated more of the ‘quiet’ relational leadership’?

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