“Leadership is practised not so much in words as in attitude and actions.”- Harold Geneen


There is a lot to be said about what makes a great, inspirational leader – phrases like, “…leading from the front”, “…never asking your team to do something you are not prepared to do yourself”, “…walking your talk”, or that all-time favourite, “…the buck stops here.” All of them depend on one thing – accountability.

We’ve probably also seen just as many examples of poor leadership amongst our politicians or business people as we’ve seen positive examples – so what would you say is the key ingredient of being that great, inspirational leader? It certainly takes more than a cliché!

Try this for size: great leaders have one key attribute – compassion for, and empathy with, the people whom they are leading, which results in those leaders being trusted, not for the sake of being leaders, but because their actions have earned them that trust. This usually results in people being prepared to do more than that which is requested – because the connection is there and there’s a mutual feeling of support in place.

When leaders go beyond what’s expected of them, followers see the example that’s been set and then tend to do the same and, when followers go beyond what’s expected of them, leaders respond with greater levels of incentive and reward – the opposite of carrot and stick, you might say. It creates another one of those positive feedback loops we’re so fond of here!

If you are a leader, consider what you can do for your teams, not what you can say to them or order them to do – buy-in is more easily generated through visible acts of sincerity and, importantly, consistent follow-through of commitments. If you’re working with a leader who does this, be sure to deliver on your commitments too, because trust is a two-way street……

What can you do today, as a leader, that will show your commitment to people you are leading? What example will demonstrate consistently, more than any motivational speech, that you trust and respect them and, when needed, will stand up for and protect them?

Love and light,

Jim Sharman



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