How good leadership will help bring us a brighter future

Five diverse business people in a meeting

An effective leader recognises their own area of expertise and, crucially, recognise what expertise they don’t have - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

David Parfrey, chief executive of Norwich Research Park, reveals the six key behaviours of an effective leader. 

I last wrote about evolution being our new stability and the brave steps we needed to take in looking forwards rather than backwards. With great leadership, those steps are not taken alone; instead, they will be encouraged with empathy and support. 

We hear of people being ‘born leaders’. From my own experiences I can say that the best, most effective leaders build on their personal experience and are granted the permission to lead by the communities they represent. They tend to exhibit six key behaviours: 

  1. Provide vision, clear direction and a clarity of purpose.

  2. Make important decisions when needed and listen to others’ views whenever possiblE.

  3. Recognise their own area of expertise and, crucially, recognise what expertise they don’t have.   

  4. Empower people to do what they do best. With clear direction, they trust their people to deliver what they need to do to achieve the vision. 

  5. ‘Walk the walk’ and behave in the same way that they expect others to. Their authenticity depends on meeting this requirement. 

  6. Recognise that leadership is a service, not for self. They are not doing what they do for their own satisfaction, they do it for those they serve. 

For me, the sixth lesson provides the foundation for good leadership. One of the most important lessons is to constantly remind yourself who you are doing it for.  

David Parfrey, chief executive officer of Norwich Research Park

David Parfrey, chief executive officer of Norwich Research Park - Credit: Norwich Research Park

At Norwich Research Park, we have leaders in many different fields, united by efforts to make this planet a better place to live; whether that’s improving crop yields or resistance to disease; minimising people's risk of disease; or developing ways we can care better for our environment. Our aim is to take what we do into real, life-enhancing applications. If you like, ‘taking our work from the lab to the living room’. 

Covid-19 has put science centre stage. It now has a higher profile in everyday life. Science has the power to pave the way to that brighter future which we crave. When leadership in science works with leadership in society, that power can be used to turn the possible into the probable. 

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