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Quang Nguyen, August 5 2019

What is Leadership?

“Leadership is communicating to people their work and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” – Stephen Covey

The word leadership invokes so many different images to everyone. 

For example:

• A political leader who is pursuing a passionate cause to improve the lives of the people.

• The head of a tribe who is keeping the community alive and looked after.

• An Executive or CEO who is developing strategies to get ahead of the competition.

In my early days as an Assistant Principal, my leadership style was all over the place. I initially thought leadership was to make everyone happy, so I took on board everyone’s complaints and spent most of my time finding a way to solve them for my team so that they could be happy. Little did I know that I was creating a storm for myself as a leader.

I soon found that I was spending more and more time checking up on my team to make sure that they were happy and that if they had any problems, but they could let me know and I would solve it for them.


Needless to say, I was overworked and constantly on edge seeking problems and solutions.

Shortly into my journey as a leader, I started to self reflect and look for key leadership traits in people whom I admire in this field. This includes people whom I have worked with and those who were renowned as exceptional leaders.

I soon realised that leadership is about autonomy and providing support when required. It is about allowing your team to realise their potential and become leaders in their own right.

So I started to scale back my involvement in things. I checked in when required and provided the necessary support as well. But ultimately it was about helping my team achieve their goals which are aligned with our team goals.

So leadership is many things such as helping others stay on the path, setting a direction and a vision, creating something new, inspiring and motivating others and mapping out where you need to go next as a team or organisation.

But it all comes down to one thing – you are there as a leader to help your team think in a way that:

• seeks to challenge their own beliefs and attitudes where possible

• allows them to own their role

• boost their personal performance

• gives them more job satisfaction

• courage them to contribute to the improvements and innovations in the organisation

• guide them in how to solve problems in a way that demonstrates good judgement and thoughtful consequences

• allows them to think of others and their impact decisions they have on them

This Nelson Mandela quote pretty much sums up my thoughts on leadership:

If you would like to understand your leadership style and it's impact on your team a bit more, get in touch with me. I would love to hear from you.

Written by

Quang Nguyen

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