A lot has been on the to-do lists of world leaders this past year. It is difficult to imagine being in their positions and the challenges they have to face. There are various sets of challenges for each successive leader and require similar skills and qualities in order to face them. It is not just on a macro-level, but in our own lives and work we can be leaders. A parent, a teacher or a tutor is a leader in terms of nurturing young people to find their own attributes and activities in life. It is worth looking at the qualities of leadership so that we can be the best mentors and examples for young people to follow and become leaders in life themselves. Based on my experiences both as a tutor for over ten years and President of The Tutors’ Association for three years up to 2019, here are some attributes that may be good to explore in your own life:

  • Create and pursue a vision, share that vision and instil belief
  • Have passion for what you do, especially in voluntary roles
  • Find allies, build your team and learn to trust
  • Be a good listener
  • Communication - with your team and advocate to others, both internal and external stakeholders. Be prepared for a lot of conversations
  • Seek out role models
  • Seek out opportunities
  • Seek knowledge
  • Learn to manage people and expectations
  • Learn from mistakes
  • Grow emotional intelligence and self-awareness
  • Grow awareness of different constituencies, other people’s perspectives
  • Take responsibility and be accountable
  • Be decisive. Don’t be afraid to take risks
  • Be willing to make sacrifices, typically being personal ones
  • Lead by example but delegate where necessary
  • Stay strong, stay resilient and never give up!
  • If you feel completely daunted by the prospect of becoming a leader, do not be afraid to ask for help. Moreover, there are great resources, books and motivational speeches readily accessible to support you in your ventures. I found the following books incredibly helpful during my presidential tenure:

    Legacy - 15 Lessons in Leadership by James Kerr

    Winning Matters by Sean Fitzpatrick

    Leading by Sir Alex Ferguson with Michael Moritz

    Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed

    Start With Why by Simon Sinek

    The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey

    Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet

    When it comes to nurturing children’s independence and exploring their own goals, whether through parenting, teaching, tutoring or mentoring, identify role models in their lives. In addition, getting children to think outside the box, to try a new sport or activity, bouncing ideas off them, is a gateway to new knowledge and new experiences. The recent books You Are Awesome and Dare To Be You by Matthew Syed are a great way for children themselves to do this. Autobiographies by public figures are also good: Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls and Becoming by Michelle Obama being just two examples. There are many more out there to spur students to success.

    Finally, do not underestimate the power of your own story to inspire others. In the recent Amazon Prime documentary Never Give In, Sir Alex Ferguson shares his experiences of leading his Manchester United team to become European Football Champions in 1999, in the famous final against Bayern Munich: “It was a mentality that they knew where I came from, to stand up for themselves, to stand up for their team. And I like to see myself in my team, to connect to that history of self-sacrifice, the determination; that working-class feeling into people, together. You didn’t win them all, but you stood up for yourself.”

    Adam Muckle

    BA(Hons)(Dunelm), LLM (London), Barrister, FTA

    June 2021