People often ask me how you discover your Core: all the things as a leader which define you, which you wouldn’t change. In my book I tell leaders to go to the places you feel special and ask yourself: why? Do the things that are uncomfortable and ask yourself: why do they make you feel uncomfortable?

But I also think that part of the answer is to listen out for the voices of the people who have had a deep impact on youbecause now and again they will come back to you. So much of my own leadership Core comes from my father and the expressions that were his. Sometimes a situation triggers a voice. Last night I heard him say:

If you have to concede, do it with good grace.

I was on a long flight to speak at a conference (they had generously paid for me to fly club level). When I boarded the plane there was a woman in my seat. I had booked it carefully next to the window so that I’d have a good night’s sleep. The seat by the aisle was still a good (we were in club level after all) but perhaps not as good as mine.

The attendant made her move—very politely and gently. But the woman was furious: I always have that seat! She threw her belongings onto the new seat and threw my bag onto mine. She muttered and grumped. She slammed the dividing partition between us closed, shooting daggers to me and the attendant at every available opportunity. I could hear my father's voice: 

If you have to concede, do it with good grace.

Do I ever behave like this? I am sure I do sometimes; though I suspect my father’s voice kicks in early enough that I don’t do it for too long.

And certainly not for the duration of a 13-hour flight.