"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone! The courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent."
Douglas MacArthur, 5 star general in the US army.
Hailed as a military genius MacArthur had worked his way from the bottom up to be the chief of staff only to be sacked by the then president Truman, who had once supported this great leader. His departure is still talked about in controversial terms to this day!
Fast forward to the modern banking world of 2015 and we see the demise of Antony Jenkins CEO of Barclays. Antony was brought in to take the reins of a bank that was under scrutiny from the regulators and a growing sediment that change was required to steer the ship in a different direction. Antony had started his career with Barclays back in 1983 then moved to Citibank before re-joining Barclays in 2006. He was promoted to CEO in 2012 after the Libor scandal, then fired for not reducing the costs of the bank in 2015.
Like MacArthur, once seen as a leader of people, Antony was given his marching orders.
Getting to the top can takes years of pain and joy, however staying there can be an occupational hazard. True leaders must be able to translate their vision and passion through the people and culture of the organisation while giving clear direction and leading by example. As leaders of people CEO’s all live and die by the sword and like all mortals their time will come.
Steve Jobs once wrote the heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again – less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. Perhaps Anthony Jenkins is about to embark on this journey.
Have you got what it takes to be the next CEO?