“Whatever Jacinda does, Nicola does three months later”
This was the comment from one Unionist, more in hope than expectation, following Jacinda Ardern’s shock resignation last month. To everyone’s surprise, this hope came true sooner than expected.
Nicola Sturgeon has been a highly effective and respected leader during her 8 years in office as the First Minister of Scotland. As the leader of the SNP, she has been a passionate advocate for Scottish independence and has worked tirelessly to promote Scotland’s interests on the global stage. Under Sturgeon’s leadership, Scotland has implemented a range of progressive policies including the expansion of free childcare, the introduction of minimum pricing for alcohol, and lately new legislation on gender expression.
While we have seen 5 different Prime Ministers come to power, Sturgeon has been a strong and effective leader, with a clear vision for Scotland’s future. Her focus on progressive policies, social justice, and environmental sustainability has won her widespread support and admiration, both at home and abroad. She has grown the SNP from a provincial party to the largest party in Scotland, able to punch above its weight against the history of the Tories.
To be a leader, especially if you’re a woman, you have to be prepared for the negative press that will come your way.
The age of social media only makes this more damaging. It is not hard to imagine the strain she has gone through; the better you are as a leader the more bullets start coming your way. It is incredible that she has spent 8 successful years in the role.
We are starting to see Kate Forbes, the 32-year-old Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, lined up as a potential successor. In these turbulent times, it is the younger, more progressive leaders that have the resilience to get through it. Coping with a rapidly changing agenda in a digital world is not an easy task; it will take a fresh mindset to excel.
Mental health has been moving up the agenda for many modern business leaders. As a new generation joins the workforce, it is becoming clearer to many of us the toll that stress can take on our personal and professional lives. Many of us might not have the option to completely step back from our roles, but there are steps we can take as leaders to prioritise our health, and the health of our teams. Remember, taking care of yourself is an essential part of being a productive and effective leader. Burnout can lead to physical and mental health issues, but taking time out can prevent it, reduce stress, and help you reach your goals.
5 things to learn from Nicola Sturgeon:
- Being a leader can be the loneliest job in the world – ensure you have support.
- Surround yourself with those that can take over.
- Listen to those who love you – they know when you’ve had enough.
- Nothing and no one lasts forever.
- Take care of yourself.
Thought for the week:
Having it all doesn’t mean you should carry on.
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