Dear Reader
'The higher the monkey climbs, the more you see of its behind’. A quote from General Joseph Stillwell that must rank as one of the most perceptive perspectives on leaders and leadership ever uttered. And a timely warning to all those placed in authority over us – whether it be in the sphere of national politics, local government or our professional representative bodies.

One has only to read a newspaper, watch the TV or follow BBC News online to witness the truth of the matter, especially now that nothing is safe from an airing via social media. Think of how many political careers have been shattered, how many celebrities knocked from their pedestals or projects debunked because individuals have overlooked the matter of the sensitive exposure that professional or social elevation reveals!

We do well to think about this in the veterinary workplace too. That much- sought-after, well-deserved promotion to head nurse, project manager or senior lecturer comes with responsibilities and a need to consider the nature of leadership. We may know where we are going, but does the rest of the team?

This is a trap that beckons to all new leaders, visionaries and volunteers with good intentions. Driven by the zeal and euphoria of promotion, the bright lights of expectation and self-intent, they forget that the essence of leadership is to draw people along with you to achieve a common goal; otherwise you have failed in the very purpose to which you have aspired.

Moving up the ladder of success, as fast as our arms and legs can carry us, without acknowledging who or what is in our way – or supporting and encouraging us as we climb – exposes us like nothing else. As leaders, we need to examine why we are on the ladder in the first place. And most important, is our team with us as we climb? Or simply looking up at our bottoms from below?

David Watson, BVetMed MA MRCVS 


To cite this editorial use either
DOI: 10.1111/vnj.12145 or Veterinary Nursing Journal VOL 29 pp 186

• VOL 29 • June 2014 • Veterinary Nursing Journal