Leon Patel, CEO of Carnival arts organisation Global Grooves, has been making waves for the last 20 years. 20 years of sharing his passion and knowledge of percussion and song from around the world.
He’s helped to develop many of the North West’s leading carnival arts organisations, guiding them to produce high quality participatory arts and touring productions.
More recently he took the lead on the development of The Vale, home to Global Grooves and a new North West Centre for Carnival Arts.
We asked Leon to reflect on setting up Global Grooves as an independent organisation. What we got back are some key questions to consider if you're looking to develop yourself as a leader.
Do you mind who gets the credit?
Leaders create positive change. You don’t always have to be the creator of an idea but it’s important to recognise and support good ideas. It doesn’t matter whether you came up with them or not. Do you recognise and support other people's good ideas?
How aware are you of the present moment?
The only moment in which we can take action is the present moment. Awareness of what’s happening right now is critical to successful leadership. From self-awareness to the awareness of others. Your team, your organisation, and your environment.
Are you focusing enough on your own learning?
Learning requires keeping an open mind, listening, and exploring. What are you learning right now? What do you want to learn next? Some leaders make the mistake of thinking they need to have all the answers. Successful leaders never stop learning — especially from their mistakes.
Remember, you are not alone.
Leadership can seem like a lonely place. At times, like the world is sitting upon your shoulders alone. We are lucky to be working within the arts, a sector that's known for its generosity and care. There will always be someone in your network that has the words of wisdom, experience and encouragement that you need. Draw upon the warmth of your networks and sector colleagues. And remain as generous to them as they are to you.
How are you empowering others?
Great leaders unleash the leader within each person. We all want to know that we make a difference. How are you empowering and serving others? What are you doing to help your people grow and develop? What can you do to help them be their best? Help your team to grow and be their own leaders and they will then help to lead you.
Are you clear about your vision?
For one to be leading, someone must follow. To follow, they want to know where they are going first. Are you clear about your vision? Are others clear about it? Are they inspired by your vision enough to follow?
Lead yourself first
If you know how to lead yourself, you’ll know what it will take to inspire, motivate, and encourage others. Leadership development is actually self-development. Are you willing to grow and develop? Are you willing to develop the confidence and discipline to lead yourself?
What’s your attitude?
Attitudes are contagious. If you’re negative, you’ll bring others down. If you’re positive, you’ll lift their spirits. Whatever situation comes your way, you have a choice about how you will respond. Do you take full responsibility for your attitude?
"If you know how to lead yourself, you’ll know what it will take to inspire, motivate, and encourage others."