Earlier this month, I was recognised as one of the 50 Leading Lights in UK Business for Kindness and Leadership.

Amanda Clack

So many people commented on social media saying how important and special it is to be recognised for kindness in leadership. This has made me think about how important leadership is, what true leadership is about in our sector and what qualities make a good leader.

Against a backdrop of unprecedented market uncertainty and turmoil globally, trust, ethics and standards become ever more important – as does effective and kind leadership.

For me, leadership is not about being endowed with a title, role or responsibility but about developing a followship from within the organisation, as well as understanding the principle of why anyone should be led by you.

In the built environment sector, there is a need to consider the four Ps – planet, people, place and property – in everything we do.

There are clearly some key aspects of leadership that are particularly important today in meeting expectations around trust and ethics.


Source: Shutterstock/G-Stock Studio

Leaders in our sector grow up through the development of strong technical experience coupled with, typically, a strong client and team following, creating a presence that enables them to rise up through the ranks. As leaders evolve, it is the softer skills – authenticity, approachability and kindness – that come to the fore in order for them to be successful.

In addition, our successful leaders are facing unprecedented political, economic, social and technological challenges.

Social media presence aids accessibility, alongside more traditional PR and marketing. This means leaders must define their personal brand and what they stand for, have an opinion, be social media savvy and above all come across as real and authentic.

The tone for the organisation is set from the top. The leader needs to define the culture, as well as set their own the purpose and strategy for the organisation.

The strength of a true leader is allowing others to shine around you and recognising them for it. There is no question that the nature of the workplace is changing: leaders are removing status and hierarchy in favour of a more friendly and approachable style.

It is also important for leaders to remain relevant in a world that is rapidly changing. They must keep learning, embrace technology, consider sustainability and embrace and lead on diversity and inclusion in the business.

Our sector needs strong leadership to encourage a constructive environment to challenge and do things differently. In a sector where the only normal is constant change and development, our leaders must be more in touch with those around them, while striving to always remain relevant.

Amanda Clack is an executive director and head of strategic advisory at CBRE