Enlightened Leadership

I met with a couple of colleagues last week and explored the concept of the ‘enlightened’ Scottish leader.

We brainstormed a number of  characteristics/attributes of the ‘enlightened’ leader.  I’ve tried to put them into coherent groups and them given each group a related Value.  The seven values (would you believe it) are:

Integrity; Openness; Commitment; Vigour; Compassion; Authority; and Judgement

This is very much work in progress but the associated dictionary definitions provide some semblance of logic and at least mean something to me.  Comments welcome.



Honesty – truthfulness, sincerity

Self-critical –  capable of criticising oneself objectively.

Pragmatic – behaviour that is dictated more by practical consequences than by theory or dogma

Independent – Free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority

Moral Courage – the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.

Transparency – operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed



Free thinking – inclined to forms one’s own opinions rather than depend upon authority; exhibiting boldness of speculation; skeptical of authority.

Enlightened – having or showing a rational, modern, and well-informed outlook

Tolerant – able to tolerate the beliefs, actions, opinions, etc., of others

Innovative – to renew or improve things



Hardworking – characterised by hard work and perseverance

Service – the action of helping or doing work for someone.

Duty – refer to what one feels bound or obliged to do.

Resilient – recovering readily from adversity



Aspirational – strong desire and ambition

Energetic – possessing, exerting, or displaying energy

Dynamic – pertaining to or characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful; energetic

Positive – tending to emphasize what is good or laudable; constructive



Humility – is the quality of being modest and respectful.

Co-operative – marked by willingness to cooperate

Compassionate – feeling or showing compassion; sympathetic

Complementary – combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize each other’s qualities.

Generous – liberal in giving or sharing; unselfish; free from meanness or pettiness; magnanimous.

Supportive – providing encouragement or emotional help.

Receptive – ready and willing to receive favourably

Humour – the faculty of perceiving and expressing or appreciating what is amusing



Competitive – having a strong desire to succeed.

Decisive – having or showing the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively

Confident – having strong belief or full assurance; sure

Determined – marked by or showing determination; resolute

Passion – a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept



Long-term – lasting, staying, or extending over a long time

Rational – having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense:

Learner – someone who learns or takes up knowledge or beliefs

Considered – thought about or decided upon with care

3 thoughts on “Enlightened Leadership

  1. This is good. Would suggest the phrase “self-awareness” rather than “self-critical” as I think self-awareness” is wider and more encompasing and also includes being self critical.

    Best wishes

  2. Some further ideas Don but there are probably no right answers!

    From Integrity, move self critical and transparency to Openness, and pragmatic to Judgement.
    Add moral compass and fair to Integrity.

    From Compassion, move complementary to Judgement, receptive to Openness and humour to Authority.
    Add kind and respect.
    Rename compassionate ( in title anyway) as empathetic.

    From Openness, move innovative to Vigour.
    Add self aware ( as Garry points out different to self critical)

    From Authority , move competitive and determined to Commitment.

    From Judgement, move learner to Openness.

  3. I am intrigued to learn a bit more about what particularly distinguishes an ‘enlightened Scottish leader’?

    Under value Commitment and sub heading resilient I would add ‘ ability to learn from and recover from failure’.

    Under the Value Vigour I would suggest you add ‘adaptable’ under the sub heading Dynamic. In this section you might also wish to add ‘Responsive to change and opportunity’.

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