Leadership lessons from the Renaissance with Dean Williams

The Renaissance was a time of unprecedented innovation and invention in the arts, sciences, governance, music, engineering, architecture and technology. It was a period of upheaval of the status quo and the renewal, even transformation of society.

In his speech to over 600 public and social leaders in the Singapore Public Service, Dr Dean Williams explored the Renaissance period and how the current pandemic affords a unique and vital moment to think about creativity and change, specifically to create or invigorate a work culture that generates alignment, promotes collaboration, encourages risk-taking, and breathes life into the work of people at all levels.

What did leaders from the Renaissance do that made a difference, and what are the relevant lessons for one's leadership work? Dean shared these 9 leadership lessons:

  1. Renaissance leaders reassessed their values, redefined progress, and generated a common sense of purpose.

  2. They trained a network of change agents.

  3. They saw their leadership work as "shifting perspectives" in order to get people to embrace a higher possibility and to be responsible, creative, contributing citizens.

  4. They promoted creative experimentation, frontier exploration, and breakthrough projects.

  5. They encouraged cross-boundary engagement to surface diverse perspectives for the purpose of generating new knowledge and innovation.

  6. They helped people to let go, and to reinvent themselves and their roles.

  7. They ensured that ethics and morality were central, and they encouraged moral courage.

  8. They sought to bring everyone along, but it wasn't easy.

  9. They realized that leadership matters, it is source.

A copy of Dean's speech is available for your reference and learning.

About Dr Dean Williams

Dean is a leading authority on adaptive leadership and change management. An award-winning former Harvard lecturer, he taps on decades of academia in human development, problem solving and organisational performance to serve as a principal consultant for businesses and governments globally, also in dialogue with presidents and prime ministers. He is the author Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face their Toughest Challenges, and Leadership for a Fractured World: How to Cross Boundaries, Build Bridges, and Lead Change.

To support you in your adaptive leadership journey in creating an invigorating work culture, Dean has committed to two upcoming programmes in early 2021 for you to consider with your team as you navigate towards a new year filled with uncertainty, but also one with hope. Find out more about Leadership Conversations From Purpose to Impact and Real Leadership.

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