True Leadership

The recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce is a key challenge in the current market.
How to best tackle this? Through true leadership!

About three and a half years ago, I took the decision to leave the construction industry and moved into consulting, because remote or part-time working were deemed impossible to facilitate and made it difficult for me to combine motherhood/family with a demanding full-time job. Just one year after I made the decision, the first COVID-19 lockdown was imposed upon us, and with it came a change that would alter how we operate well into the future.

When we start our career, we strive to become an expert at what we do. We are full of enthusiasm to become the best. I am no different but due to the way my career has panned out, I may never become the technical expert that I dreamt of becoming when I left university. However, my career path has given me the opportunity to do the thing that I really feel passionate about – growing and developing teams.

Leadership is not about having attended courses, having read the latest statistics or being conversant with certain methods. True leadership is about inspiring others. It comes from one’s heart and considers the feeling of others. It’s an attitude, not a routine but it requires leaders to have courage, integrity, vision, and empathy.

I believe that it is our responsibility to be visible, to stand out and speak up, so we can lead the way through challenging times. This is incumbent upon all leaders: to showcase the fantastic opportunities our industry provides.

It is essential that all leaders within a business share a vision with employees, making them feel part of something great, wanting to be the best they can be, and to find ways to help them manage stress and create the right work life balance for them. By achieving this, we create an organisational culture where people will feel they belong and want to stay, regardless of where they are based: in the office, on site, remotely and internationally.

Another key feature of leadership is to identify existing and new talent, nurture them, and ensure that they see growth prospects in the field of engineering. We must retain our shining stars, so that they can be the leaders of tomorrow.

Leaders are not defined by gender, age, skin colour or sexual orientation, they truly come in all shapes, colours, and sizes. By making all leaders more visible, we will naturally encourage people from different backgrounds to join our industry/company/team, creating a genuinely cognitive diverse workforce.

John Maxwell (American author) once said:

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The Leader adjusts the sails

By simply adjusting the sails, as we did as an industry when COVID struck, true leaders will make a difference. To all problems and to everyone.

To read an extended version of this blog, visit GE website:

Author:  Yvonne Ainsworth, Director, GDG


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