A new podcast series revealing the truth behind successful leadership has been launched by Cambridge consultancy Rise Above.

Founder Sean Moore finds out what it really takes to be a leader in ‘Leading Conversations’, beginning with a discussion with Simon McDonald – the top civil servant who spoke out against former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and is now Master of Christ’s College, Cambridge.

In conversation with famous and not-so-famous leaders about their experiences of leading in all walks of life, each ‘Leading Conversations’ episode provides the audience with the inside track on what successful leadership looks like.

Whether you are a long-established leader, someone who has just got the top job, a manager facing your first leadership challenge, or someone who is just interested in leadership, the aim is to give lasting wisdom and useful lessons, not fleeting topicality.

The series launches with three very different podcasts:

Sir Simon McDonald, former Permanent Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service:

Simon has worked closely with six foreign secretaries and five prime ministers. His first book, Leadership: Lessons from a Life in Diplomacy, is not just about learning, but setting and maintaining standards of leadership in public life. It was his passion for integrity that led Simon, in July 2022, to accuse the government of lying. Boris Johnson resigned two days later. Simon says, ‘I’d had enough. I just wanted to tell the truth.’

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive of the National Hair and Beauty Federation:

Richard has spent the last twenty years as a Chief Executive of trade associations. In conversation, Richard explores how his style of leadership has changed, and why. He is thoughtful and open about what he learned from the good and bad examples of other leaders, and about his own mistakes and successes, as he learned to lead, and continues to learn, on the job.

Christian Scott, Strategy Director, Granite 5:

Christian is making what is widely recognised as one of the most difficult career changes – the transition from managing part of a business, to leading all of it. Christian is compelling on the problematic difference between expertly doing tasks himself within a single function and delegating those tasks to others as he takes on more general responsibility.

Sean explains, “Leadership is one of the most important things there is, yet it is so poorly understood. Everyone has the capability to think about leadership or even become a leader in daily life. The series of interviews I am planning is designed to equip those who practice or are interested in leadership with enduring ideas about what good leadership is, and how to do it well.”

Listen and subscribe to the podcast series on Spotify or other channels.