great leaders

Is great leadership about being a superhero or villain?

As a young child, I have a vivid memory of visiting my father’s office during school holidays and asking to watch his films. Despite not being in the film business, my dad worked in advertising, and his secretary would kindly set up a 16mm projector in a spare room and bring out a pile of his advertisements for me to watch.

For hours, I would sit there, fascinated by the sound of the film running through the sprockets, the glowing light in the projector, and the way the dust would dance in the beam. I loved those ads and promo reels, and sometimes I would even play them backwards, just for kicks. My dad never once refused my request to watch his films; he was always supportive and never too busy to bring a projector home to set up in the living room.

The power of supportive leadership

Reflecting on this memory, I realize that great leaders are supportive. They encourage and uplift others, even in small ways, because they understand the power of positive influence. As a teenager, my father arranged a meeting with a family friend who was a film producer, which ultimately led to me getting work in the TV and film industry. Around the same time, my mother owned an art gallery, and I was surrounded by successful businesspeople who appreciated self-starters, entrepreneurs, and creative individuals. They understood that success takes both passion and good business skills and that it takes time and effort.

The Influence of Great Leadership

These people didn’t judge, mock, or interfere with my pursuits. Instead, they mentored, guided, and led by example. They were an enormous influence on me, even if they didn’t realize it. From them, I learned that each one of us holds immense power over others, and we can either inspire them to be their best or shut them down. We can either point them towards greatness or towards mediocrity, without even knowing we’re doing it. Similarly, we can inspire ourselves to be our best or point ourselves towards mediocrity.

Aspiring to be superheroes rather than villains, great leaders understand that the first choice is the nobler one. They inspire people to be their best, knowing it’s a much better pursuit. As a leadership speaker, I’ve seen firsthand the transformative power of great leadership, and it all starts with being a supportive and positive influence on those around us.

Others articles on leadership include ‘Change management requires ownership, not buy-in’ and ‘How do I foster an innovation culture in my team?

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Nigel Collin Speaker


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