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Greg Dyke, Martin Narey and Jude Kelly: Are Leaders Born or Made?

A great discussion from three of Wavelength’s good friends. Taken from On Your Marks 2013, this will get you thinking about what makes a great leader. What do you think – are they born or made?

Sir Martin Narey, Government Advisor and former CEO of Barnardos, says he was undoubtedly made, not born, a leader. In fact, as the eighth of nine children, he was brought up as a follower. He only became a leader when he became passionate about what he saw in prisons. Then he copied other people and learnt along the way.

In fact he even goes so far as to say that believing you have to be born a leader is damaging to potential. Like with anything else, you can practice, get things wrong and get better.

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre agrees with Martin. However she also adds there are many young children who display signs of wanting to be in charge. Wanting to be in charge is not the same as being a leader. There are also many adults who unexpectedly find themselves in the position of a leader and do not have the necessary skills. Both these groups need to be taught how to lead well.

Greg Dyke, then Chairman of British Film Institute suggests that from the whole population there are 10% natural leaders, 10% who will never be leaders, and 80% in the middle who could become good leaders with the right opportunities and training. This is a contentious point; how does he know the 10% will never become good leaders?


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SPEAKER INFO Some of the people mentioned in this article are part of Wavelength’s SpeakersHub. To view their full biographies, find links to videos, and to book them to speak at your own event please click on the links below: Sir Martin Narey, Former CEO, Barnardo’s & former Director General, The Prison Service Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre

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