Love, Kindness and Patience are the Keys to Leadership, Says Caron Bradshaw

In: BlogDate: May 13, 2024By: Ben Rogers

"Leadership is a term, much like 'strategy', that is misused and misunderstood. I don’t believe that being a leader is about being the CEO, hierarchy, wielding power and control or having all the answers. Yet leaders can have a hard time breaking out of the traditional concepts of leadership and embracing a different approach. And others fail to recognise their own leadership qualities considering themselves too junior or lacking that leadership 'title'," says Caron Bradshaw OBE.

Caron will be speaking at the 2024 Happy Workplaces Conference on 15th May on the topic of Leading with Love.

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Caron Bradshaw joined CFG in 2010 from the ICAEW where she was Head of the Charity and Voluntary Sector. In addition to supporting a number of small charities and community organisations, Caron has been a member of the NCVO’s National Assembly and the Charities SORP Committee, has sat on a number of government working parties, is a member of the Church of England Pension Board’s Audit and Risk Committee, and is the former Chair of the Board of the Directory of Social Change. She was honoured with an OBE for 'services to charity' in the New Year's Honours list 2021.

Caron will be speaking at the 2024 Happy Workplaces Conference on the topic of ‘leading with love.’ But what does she mean by leading with love?

Defining ‘love’ is a very tricky thing. Many a poet has spent a lot of time endeavouring to do so. For Caron, the most straightforward definition can be found in the well-known Corinthians 13:47:

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

We often hear this at weddings. However, for Caron, this is just as applicable to leadership, with the focus on kindness and patience being the most important qualities of love for leadership.

“As a leader, who would argue that you don’t need patience? Often it is a quality that saves our sanity. It helps us hold our nerve and wait for the fruits of our labours rather than requiring the gratification of instant results.

And who would argue that you don’t also need kindness? “A command and control approach to leadership, if it ever worked, has for many years been less than effective.”

Caron goes on to reference Aesop’s fable of the sun and the wind, the meaning of the fable being that gentle encouragement is often more effective than heavy handed force. This is obviously applicable to the world of work and management.

Far too many of us have had a manager or supervisor that was controlling, demanding and unkind to their employees. Too few of us have had a manager that treated us with trust and kindness. Those people that have had both can tell you that the latter is much more effective in their role and their team are much more productive.

“Many employees, a frighteningly high number, complain of workplace bullying and harassment…  I believe people want to do their best. I don’t know about you, but on those days where I have royally screwed up I have not awoken that morning with the gleeful desire and intent to get it wrong!”

Many people would say that trusting another person is necessary for love. Caron applies this to leadership too, that trusting your staff is a key part of being a leader.

“I trust that people are fundamentally good. I don’t start from the premise that my staff must earn my trust. I try to be ready for the worst but hope for the best.”

Caron will be giving a talk on Leading with Love at the 2024 Happy Workplaces Conference on Wednesday 15th May. This year's conference is a hybrid event, held both Live Online via Zoom and in the classroom at Happy. However you choose to join us, there will be plenty of interaction, discussion, space for reflection and opportunities to network with others.

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Ben Rogers

Ben Rogers is a Project Manager and IT expert, who was a permanent member of staff at for Happy for 5 years. He now works freelance as a project manager and writer. He is a big fan of Excel spreadsheets, especially Pivot Tables and XLOOKUP.

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