What leadership means to me

I am feeling reflective. I am feeling like answering some big questions. For myself, as much as for my audience. I am feeling like unpacking what leadership means to me. And why.  

And I encourage you to do the same. As you read this article, be thinking about what leadership means to you, and how you came to believe those things about leadership. And about teams.  

For me, leadership is about influence, inspiration, and impactful. Here’s why. 

1. Influence 

For me, the key skill of leadership is the skill of influence. Being able to influence behaviour is crucial. Being able to influence thinking is also important.  

If I reflect on the best leaders that I have had, I feel like they were able to move my heart and mind and move them in a direction that was towards what needed to be done. And towards why things needed to be done. 

My reflection here is that influence could be used for both good, and for bad, but good leaders have the right intent, and that intent is to help their teams live into the values of the team and the values of the business. And that is at the heart of influence. Helping team members mobilise their energy and to point it in the right direction. In the direction of the teams and organisational values, goals, and objectives.  

Influence starts with setting the direction. Then sharing it. Then influencing others to buy in.  

To me, influence is about leadership languaging more than anything. Using words to engage and encourage others.  

I think about great leaders on the planet, and I think about someone like, say, Barrack Obama, and how his speaking work was extremely engaging. And memorable. Obama was a leader who is remembered for his articulation and his charisma. Key elements of influence.  

2. Inspiration 

This is the biggie. The thing. The king. Inspiring others to follow you.  

Inspiration is different to motivation. For me motivation is very much an internal thing. It is generally something that people have or would like to have. ‘I want to be more motivated,’ you will hear people saying. Inspiration is giving people something to work towards. 

Because they can see you, as their leader demonstrating that behaviour required to make delivery on what is not only required, but what is possible. Inspiration is about helping people understand their own potential, and then leaning into that potential because they can see you as their leader doing it. 

Inspirational leadership is leading from the front. It is leading through action. It is leading from impossible to its possible. It is about demonstrating what could happen if your team follow your lead. 

I think about great leaders on the planet, and I think about someone like Elon Musk, who can inspire massive workforces to accomplish massive goals and objectives. Even if those goals and objectives seem crazy at the start, Elon can inspire action.  

3. Impact 

My reflection is that leadership is the second most important job on planet Earth, behind parenting. Just think about being in the workforce for say 40 years of your life and having poor leaders for even some of that time. 

Leaders are hugely important humans. And the sad part is that some of them don’t know or believe that. A lot of leaders are in their roles because they were the next in line. Or because it pays more. Or because the manager is on leave. It is not because they really want to have an impact on other humans. 

When I say impact, I mean being life changing. I mean being memorable, for the right reasons. I mean making a difference.  

Having an impact means being present when needed. It means being purposeful with your intent. And it means being pumped about people. And why they need to be your focus. 

Fun fact; leaders that come through our leadership training programs can remember conversations with their leaders from decades ago. And they remember the crappy conversations more than the positive ones. They can remember the leaders that impacted them negatively.  

To me leadership is about having a positive impact on other humans.  

I think about great leaders on the planet, and I think about someone like Oprah Winfrey or Jacinda Ardern, who appear to care for others and that comes through in their languaging and in their behaviour.  

So that is what leadership means to me. It is about influence, inspiration, and impact. 

What does it mean to you?  

And could you please do me a favour, and share this with leaders everywhere? This is an important topic for leaders. 

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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