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Releasing The Leader Within You

Written by: David Campbell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


I am sure that we have all heard the old adage: “Leaders are not born, they are made.” I don’t hold with this statement in its strictest sense.

I believe that the potential for leadership is within each one of us. It is through being presented with and taking the opportunities in life that we learn and refine our leadership qualities. We have the rough edges knocked off through the experience of stepping out and taking the lead.

A Leader is defined (in the dictionary) as:

  • “a person who rules, guides, or inspires others”

According to that definition, we can all be leaders in some way, shape or form.

Can you see how a young child can inspire others to do great things? How a daughter can bring out the best in her dad as a protector and provider or inspire in her mother the instinct of nurture and love?

The truth is that the potential exists within every one of us to become an incredible leader, but the development of that potential takes time. Time is needed to:

  • identify your passions;

  • understand your personal vision and purpose;

  • learn how to express who you are;

  • learn how to use your unique strengths and skills; and

  • learn how to express your purpose in your own unique way.

A leader does not need to be out the front as a manager or military officer. As an activity right now:

  • Take some time to think about people you know who have inspired you.

  • What did they do?

  • How did they inspire you?

  • What was their position in relation to you?

The inverted leadership paradigm

If you are anything like me, we have been taught throughout our lives that leaders are people in positions of great power and with great authority. We look to, and aspire to be like, the leaders we have observed during our lives.

While I was in the Navy, we used to say: “I would follow him/her into battle”, as a recognition of a person’s leadership qualities. We were willing to submit to such a person as our leader.

While there are many that I look to as examples of great leaders, I firmly believe that the strongest and most enduring leadership model we have is that of the biblical character of Jesus Christ. We can learn so much from a study of this servant-based leadership model. It is not dictatorial but is authoritative. It has been and remains the existing leadership model in the largest organisation in the world. (The Christian Church)

He understood the principles of great leadership. The following thoughts are compiled from looking at the leadership style demonstrated by Jesus.

Leaders don’t go it alone

If you want to change the world, then choose a team of people and invest your time in teaching them. Then empower them, give them authority and release them to have a go at leading in their own right.

Leaders must know their stuff

You don’t need to be the world expert, but you do need to “know what you know”. That is, you must have a good grasp of who you are and what you are working towards, and “know what you don’t know”. In short, understand where there are gaps in your knowledge.

Leaders are visionary

Leaders need to have a vision. Not just in your head, you need to have your clear and concise vision written down so it can be passed onto the team. You need to know the vision inside and out. The vision must be burned into your very being, so that when the storms of life hit, your commitment to the vision will hold you on your course. Everything that you do should contribute to realising the vision. Leaders remain focused on their vision.

One of the classic lines used in Naval Officer performance evaluations in relation to leadership is: “Sailors would only follow this officer out of idle curiosity.” Such an officer is an example of a leader without a vision or the ability to communicate it.

There is a great proverb that reminds us “where there is no vision, the people perish”. A leader must be able to communicate their vision.

Leaders teach others

A leader needs to be able to communicate the vision clearly. Before a leader can lead, people need to be able to gather around the cause or vision. This can only be done through clear communication.

Leaders gather followers

Good leaders will always attract followers however, they recruit their inner team. Good leaders need to surround themselves with good people. They should not settle for mediocrity. Looking forward (to the vision) they recruit to address skills gaps in order to find the qualities needed to implement their vision.

Good leaders want to build a team that has the same singular focus on the strategic vision laid out for them.

Leaders celebrate success

One of the greatest things you can do as a leader is to celebrate the achievement of goals. Celebration can range from a simple recognition of achievement to a full on party.

I read an article some years ago that encouraged the use of the single word “Done”. The idea was that when you complete a task, say out loud: “Done”. It has a psychological effect on you. It brings the task to a point of completion. It is a verbal celebration of the completion of the task. The saying of “Done” adds a life placeholder, allowing you to move to the next task having completed that one.

I have used this strategy in my own life and as a business coach, and have encouraged my clients to use it. The sense of satisfaction from having completed a task and declaring it aloud is tangible. Why not give it a try?

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


David Campbell, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

David is an exceptionally experienced executive coach. He is an exceptional public speaker who challenges the way organisations and individuals think in relation to business and life. has led reform within a number of organisations and brings a unique understanding of the pressures in both the public and private sectors. He understands the changing requirements and time frames within the business environment and has considerable experience in leading, managing and coaching geographically dispersed (remote) teams. David brings a new insight into the way we think into our success in business to realise exceptional results.



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