Welcome to Churchill House!
Our House Leader is James Butcher.
Churchill the Man
Like all of us, Churchill was more than the sum of his occupations: soldier, writer, politican and statesman. That said, many of the Churchill leadership traits were grown and developed whilst working in these fields. It is also true to say many of his leadership traits are products if his complex personality: intuitive, romantic, emotional, brave, inventive, hard working, hedonistic, nationalistic, unselfconcious, risk taking, determined, witty, sociable and social reforming family man with a strong sense of his own destiny.
A man of great Integrity, Churchill was 65 years old when he first became Prime Minister. Despite his age he had enormous energy. He had been a member of parliament (MP) for nearly 40 years. He had held senior posts, both at home and in international affaires for over 25 of those years. During this extensive career he had experienced failure and unpopularity. Indeed during the early days of his leadership, there was still considerable distrust from members of his own Conservative party. Through all this he maintained his Self Belief. One may say that success is the result of good judgement, that good judgement is the result of experience and that experience is often the result of bad judgement.
There is no doubt that the extensive experience that Churchill had accumulated (including his mistakes and failings) were central to his leadership style. This experience helped to found his Vision. The lessons he learned helped him to be decisive and make the right decisions.
Leadership is nowadays all the rage. There are countless, books, articles, websites and conferences devoted to leadership and developing the qualities of great leadership. In light of his iconic status, the Churchill leadership traits exhibited in 1940-45 are set to be discussed and debated by scholars for years to come.
Of course leadership itself is neither necessarily good nor desirable (Hitler, Stalin, Mao et al). Neither is it all about "charisma". Of course many leaders have been described as charismatic many were not.
Churchill, like Abe Lincoln, was not a particularly charismatic leader. This is in contrast to the devilishly charismatic Hitler. While Churchill had a powerful personality and wonderful Communication skills, no one wished to award him dictatorial powers for life (unlike Adolf!). Hitler radiated an almost super-human charisma. It has been said that after meeting Churchill you believed you could achieve anything. After meeting Hitler you believed that he could achieve anything! Churchill used this inspirational effect to build vital Collaborations.
It can be argued that far from leadership being "about charisma", rather charisma itself can weaken effective leadership: often leading to inflexibility, over confidence, inflated egos and "spin" over substance.
So leadership is not necessarily a good thing nor is it about charisma. In reality its not about a specific list of traits either. No two great leaders will possess the same list of traits or competencies.
Leadership is ultimately about getting things done, Driving people to Take Action - and get results and improve performance. Its the ability to influence, motivate and provide the tools and environment to others so that they can best contribute towards the successful attainment of the goals of their community or organisation. Winston Churchill was a man of immense Courage and Creativity, these and his other qualities shaped the war during Britain's "darkest hour". They worked for the great man - and I hope this proves to be thought provoking for you.