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Edward Chaplin, former British ambassador: Celebrate success and drop Anglo-Saxon inhibitions


Themes: Guest speakers, Leadership

Edward ChaplinSuccess should be celebrated and boasted about according to former British ambassador Edward Chaplin CMG OBE, because the in-built Anglo-Saxon inclination to let others spot achievement is not good leadership.

Chaplin, a British diplomat for 37 years, with a career that included ambassadorial postings to Iraq and Italy, told his Cambridge Judge Business School MBA audience that celebrating success is very important.

“It’s like boasting, showing off. The Anglo-Saxon tendency of my generation is that other people will spot the success and will give you praise or not for it. It’s enough to know that you have been successful.

“Actually, as far as your team is concerned – and this is an important part of leadership – they want the success that they have contributed to be publicly recognised; publicly in the sense of in front of the rest of team. That makes them feel better about themselves, about their job, and gives them the stimulus to go on trying just as hard in the future.”

In an interview for the School’s website, the retired ambassador added that, in his view, failure to recognise success would be seen as an uncaring attitude. Hiding a team member’s failure to deliver was also a weakness. Chaplin added that no leader should carry passengers; that would be unfair to the rest of the team.