Stand Out as a Stronger Leader

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Stand Out as a Stronger Leader

Simon Wallace | 12th April 2019

I’m excited to share my insights on leadership with you and how I’ve aligned my leadership action to each in my effort to be the very best leader possible. Hoping that this post will help you with your own leadership development journey.

As you read this post, challenge your thinking on leadership and decide if you are a leader or not. Take this opportunity identify your leadership gap and hone your self-development leadership action needed so that you can stand out as an even stronger leader too.

“Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on the earth.”¹

My insights and leadership action are responses to the questions posted below. Your answer to these questions will help you decide.

Qu 1: Are you clear about your philosophy of leadership?

I work very hard to role model my philosophy hoping that others will follow my lead.

My philosophy of leadership has always been to focus, be collaborate, to take a holistic view and to build trust for lasting relationships. I’m competitive and driven to be the best at whatever I do. I challenge myself to find a better way aiming to win more that I lose. I strongly believe that manners make a good leader great and that decency costs nothing.

My approach reflects my humble background, I’m from Campbletown, Scotland, a small fishing and farming community and those values instilled by my parents. This has shaped my behavioural rules that have become my approach that are the Brand Essence and Values at The Whole Thing.

Insight 1: You are a leader if you are clear about and live your philosophy of leadership

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” – Ray Kroc

Qu 2: Have you got any followers?

I work very hard on my messaging and to lead high performance teams.

My priority continues to be to create opportunities for interaction and trust building that make my influence attempts more acceptable. People won’t follow me if they don’t trust me.

I achieve my ambitions by engaging others to be commercially successful without me being there all of the time. This requires me to surround myself with talented people that collectively pursue performance results, develop their talent and work together as a team – Together Everyone Achieves More – TEAM.

Insight 2: You are a leader if you influence people to follow you and help you to push your cause. Without followers you are not a leader.

“The task of the leader is to get his/her people from where they are to where they have not been.” – Henry Kissinger

Qu 3: Do you think that you are a leader because you are the boss?

I work very hard to take the first step; having the courage to speak up and approach others and not waiting for them to approach me.

I’m so proud to observe and learn from my children who repeatedly take responsibility for others. Their innocence and courage to step up, speak out, defend their principles is brilliant.

Being a leader is hard work and scary at times but that’s cool too.

My approach is to lead not follow.

Insight 3: You are a leader if you lead not follow, that is be first to step forward and say I will, not they will. Anyone can be a leader –  you don’t need to be a boss to be a leader.

“Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” – Margaret Thatcher

Qu 4: Do you discipline failure

I work very hard at creating an environment for others to learn and to mentor and coach performance improvement that leads, guides and challenges others to avoid failures and learn for themselves.

I’ve failed many times and can honestly say that some of my failures have really hurt a lot. Those occasions have proved to be catalysts for me to grow. Making sure that I didn’t make the same mistakes again. I changed my environment, the people around me and turned adversity into my most creative moments. Thanks to my philosophy of leadership and faith, I’ve managed to return to real success.

I don’t like failure as this costs but I tolerate it and respect that this is how we learn.

Insight 4: You are a leader if  you create the conditions in which people learn and coach people to learn for themselves  

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” – Steven Spielberg

Qu5 : Are leaders born rather than made?

I work very hard on succession planning and developing a second in command. This allows my top talent to grow and affords me the time to stand back, think and do what I like to do.

I’ve studied leadership and found research, on both men and women, that confirms that you can develop leadership competency. ² Importantly, this data indicates that around 30% of leadership competency was heritable, whilst 70% was due to environmental events.

I believe that leaders are born but can be made knowing that self-belief a key ingredient to change.

Insight 5: You are a leader if you create other leaders. This is the most important job of a leader.

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” –  Jack Welch

In summary, to stand out as a stronger leader

    1. Be clear about and live your philosophy of leadership
    2. Influence people to follow you and help you to push your cause
    3. Lead don’t wait to follow – be first to step forward and say I will, not they will
    4. Create the conditions in which people learn and coach people to learn for themselves
    5. Create other leaders – this is the most important job of a leader

What leadership action are you taking to stand out as a stronger leader?

What are your biggest leadership challenges?

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Geese – Leadership in Action (a great insight from nature)


    1. Burns 1978, Leadership, New York: Harper and Row.
    2. Avolio, Rotundo & Walumbwa (In Press) Early life experiences and environmental factors as determinants of leadership emergence: The role of parental influence on ruling behavior. The Leadership Quarterly
    3. Simon Wallace, 2011, Developing Leaders and Leadership – Technical Paper PMI – AGC, 13th Conference, Seminars, & Exhibition January 24-26, 2011, Bahrain

About the Author

Simon Wallace is founder of The Whole Thing Group and passionate about performance improvement. Creative entrepreneur and trusted advisor to some great companies that are achieving great things.

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