The Agile Tribe

The Power of One: Along the road to Leadership

on June 28, 2010

Author: Ryan McKergow

Taking a leaf from Fiona Mullen’s earlier blog, I too was inspired by “Liquid Leadership” by Damien Hughes, the next book in the saga after “Liquid Thinking”. Its focus is on how everyone should and can take the leap to become a leader.

Recently I presented to other graduates at our organisation and called on them all to aspire to be leaders and proposed the self-realisation that I too was a leader.

So… what is it that makes a leader?

Personally I see a leader as someone who gives direction to others, while leading by example. What do I mean by this? I mean that they have to:

  • Be bold and courageous, but also vulnerable at the same time;
  • Be optimistic and/or energisers;
  • Have a clear vision of where they are going; and
  • Continue to communicate and reinforce why we are going there!

I also think that to just get by in this world, you should:

  • Value your family, friends, and yourself first!
  • Always be polite and respectful; and
  • Do some good by changing the world, even if it is only in a small way.

Now you might be asking yourself, why should I bother to be a leader?

To put it plainly, this world needs leaders! You don’t have to be in a leadership position at work to be a leader. You could be a leader at work without the title, a leader in your home/family life, a leader when you’re playing sport or in a band, or a leader at your church!

Let me paint you a picture of a time when leadership is needed and how it applies to this world needing leaders.

Imagine that you are walking down the street with one other person. This person suddenly falls down and you rush over to help them. But what if there were 40 others in the street and that one person collapsed?

Everyone starts thinking to themselves, “Oh it’s ok. Someone else will help.” No one took the lead to help this person and that person could have been YOU!

This is why we need leaders in our world.

Ok, what can you do to become a leader?

I have two suggestions on what you can do, but obviously there are many more:

  1. Tell someone that you see as a leader, that you want to be a leader and ask them how they have became one! You’d be surprised what they will do to help you if you just ask.
  2. Make yourself vulnerable. Make the humbling realisation that there is always room for self-improvement and to learn something new. A good starting point could be to read “Liquid Thinking” and “Liquid Leadership”.

Let me leave you with a parting quote (from Damien Hughes book) about leadership and why you too can become a leader, even if you don’t think you have the influencing power….

“If you think that you are too small to make a difference,
try going to bed with a mosquito in your room!”

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7 responses to “The Power of One: Along the road to Leadership

  1. Dale says:

    Thanks for this Ryan. It really made me feel inspired. I also just read this article today too about GIO and how they are using students to help them redesign their eGreenslips program through a company called CEED. It appears to put students in touch with organisations to work on real projects and gives them the responsibility and leadership of completing it. Just shows you what students and grads can do!

    I’m going to try to find out more as it seems a great way to go to get into a good company and to test out my leadership potential. Here’s the article link if you wanted to have a look – http://www.zdnet.com.au/gio-gets-student-egreenslips-redesign-339304133.htm

  2. Peter says:

    Nice one Ryan. You certainly do have to have leaders but being a good follower i think has its own rewards as well. 🙂

  3. Ryan McKergow says:

    Thanks for the kind words gents!

    Being a past CEED student, I know how valuable these opportunities. And you are too right Dale, it taught me both of these qualities.

    Haha I know what you mean Peter. There are times when it is good to sit back and let some one else do the leading, as long as there is some one else!

  4. Sarah says:

    Ryan, your blog made me think. For me, it touches on two things – first up – you have to inspire yourself first and secondly, that if you aren’t inspired to be a leader you’ll be hard pressed to inspire anyone else to be and this has been confirmed to me after recently reading another article by Tsun-yan Hsieh who is Director Emeritus at McKinsey & Company. (http://blogs.hbr.org/tjan/2010/07/learning-to-inspire-yourself.html)

    His blog on Learning to Inspire Yourself and his final words I think reflect what you have also said. “Inspiring self is integral to the never-ending journey of becoming a better person. Without it, the inspiration we receive from others does us no good.” Good luck to you as I believe you will make a great leader and will certainly inspire others.

  5. Ryan McKergow says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I would absolutely agree with you. I couldn’t even imagine wanting to write this blog or wanting to inspire others to be a leader if I wasn’t inspired myself. I’ll have to have a read of the linked blog. Thanks for sharing!

    And thank for for the kind words 🙂

  6. Fiona Mullen says:

    Totally agree Ryan. We can always learn and grow as a leader so if you can take just one thing from a great leader and implement it, then you are already one step ahead in your leadership capability

  7. James says:

    The cynic says, “One man can’t do anything”. I say, “Only one man can do anything.” A quote by John W Gardner.

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