Learning about what it means to be a leader is similar to
catching smoke. It's never fully in your grasp and when you think
you have it - well, you don't.
But after the first session of Activate #5, it appears that
maybe that's the point.
Over the course of the day we're told that leadership is many
We, as emerging leaders, heard from established role models like
Rebecca Casson, CEO of Committee for Geelong and Kevin Larkins, CEO
of Leading Australia, who both presented a multi-faceted view of
what it is they perceive to be a leader.
"Leaders should live in the gap," says one. "EQ over IQ," says
the other, "emotional intelligence is what makes a leader."
We receive other learnings like,
- "Leaders are curious and driven by the need to
- "If it's going to be, it's up to me!"
- "Attitude trumps Aptitude."
The most common perception of a leader is someone we can look up
to, someone we consider to be of high esteem and someone that is
often separate from the others. Whilst both presenters note that
yes, there are elements of feeling lonely, it is still apparent
that you can't lead without community - you don't walk ahead, or
behind - you walk next to.
Again, none of this is a straight answer. The reason for this
could be because behind every leader is a human. Humans are complex
creatures - we can be our own hero, nemesis and often both. The
overarching lesson of this day was that leaders are emotionally
intelligent. Emotional stability influences all and the way to
obtain this is through self-awareness and self-growth… Though this
is considered a lifetime quest.
It seems that the biggest learning of the day however, is that
leadership is personal - and really the only summary of
leadership is to summarise what it is to be human - complex,
confronting and absolutely rewarding.