You can’t be what you can’t see

Could you be a future leader of British Jewry? Enter Jewish News' 18 Under 18, 25 Under 25 or 40 Under 40 initiative! (Jewish News)
Could you be a future leader of British Jewry? Enter Jewish News' 18 Under 18, 25 Under 25 or 40 Under 40 initiative! (Jewish News)

A recent news article discussed the fact that children’s future aspirations can be limited from a very early age by the assumptions they make around career possibilities they see.  This prompted me to think about and consider aspirations in leadership as well as how we see and understand leadership around us.

Our community is rich and diverse in many ways, but do we always see the real diversity around us?

Do we celebrate and make visible the difference we have in our leadership?

Do we work with and seek out those who are different from us or do we naturally move towards those who mirror or reflect our own selves?

Research has shown diversity in trustee boards enables better governance and we know diverse teams enable better working but do we focus too much on one type of leadership style when we search for leaders?

 Do we, as a community understand that there are different types of leaders who work, respond and communicate in a variety of ways?

In the same way children’s career aspirations may be guided by the diversity of options they see around them, we can ask the same of our future leaders. How can we expect people to step up and be leaders if they don’t see leaders like them?

Leadership development is often an evolutionary process.  It can be based around lived experience, reflection, learning from yourself and from others around you.   We all lead in some way and we all have our own authentic leadership path to walk.  We can learn from others but we can’t be like others (nor should we want to be), we can only be like our self.

If we fail to understand difference and value in different types of leadership, can we really  enable the growth and development of authentic leadership in a diverse group of potential leaders?

Having been invited to be part of the panel to select our next group of inspirational leaders from our community, I would ask you to consider the following:

Who can you nominate that will inspire and reflect diversity in leadership for the current and next generation?

Who can reflect different types of leaders?

The more leaders we see and the more difference in their leadership we celebrate, the more we can learn about our own leadership, the better we will be as leaders and the stronger we will be as a community.


Jewish News is looking for leaders of the future! Nominate rising stars of the community through Forty Under 40, Twenty-Five Under 25 and Eighteen Under 18 lists – by Jewish News in partnership with The Jewish Leadership Council:

About the Author
Michelle Janes is the Executive Director of Lead, a division of the Jewish Leadership Council.