019 - Unlock Your Leadership Potential



  • You have even more leadership potential in you
  • How organisations commonly develop leaders
  • Act more authentically
  • Stop copying others
  • Once your magic goes, you're easily replaced
  • Give yourself approval, don't wait for someone else to do it
  • Go for value
  • Discern what's important vs what's possible
  • Notice when something's missing or needed
  • Get traction on efforts
  • Use the traction method of Decide, Schedule, Do and Follow-up
  • The true you is always more impressive.


This post is about simple things you can do now. But, if you DO want to take this further, check out The Art of Influence online course. It goes into greater depth and provides more practical ideas for leading and influence. Click the link above or the image below.


You have more leadership potential than you've shown so far. I can guarantee it. It's not that you've been slack or under-performing at all. It's just that all of us can grow, develop and emerge further from the cocoons of expectation that both we and others have placed on ourselves.

This yet-to-be-seen potential might manifest itself in you taking on new roles, being promoted to newer opportunities, or building an even better reputation as someone who is a respected leader in your organisation.

The most common ways organisations develop their leaders is by giving them opportunities, sending them on leadership courses, or helping them develop new skills. In other words, increasing their potential.

Those strategies can indeed be useful in developing people's potential.

However, here are three less common but probably more effective ways you can unlock more of your leadership potential over the next weeks and months.

They don't have anything to do with courses or promotions.

1. Act More Authentically

Someone once said, "Be completely yourself. Everyone else is already taken." 

What they're alluding to is the very common phenomenon of professionals seeing what they believe others are doing to succeed, and trying to copy that for themselves.

Inadvertently, they can instead become a copy of that person and their own self can start to get buried. 

On top of that, many people are fearful of being fully themselves at work, especially in corporate settings, because they think that if they are, it won't be good enough, or that's just 'not the way you should be.'

The cost of this is that after a while you'll bury your real self, personality and style...and your magic goes with it.

And once your magic goes, you can so easily be replaced.

So, to reveal a more authentic you, try to:

  • Stop behaving like someone you're not
  • Identify your core strengths and use them
  • Give yourself the big tick of approval - you don't need anyone else's approval
  • Learn new skills that genuinely appeal to you
  • Say what you really think (in appropriate ways, of course)
  • Don't take something on if you really don't want to (unless you have a strategic reason for doing so).

2. Go for Value

It's my observation, after 20 years in the corporate world, that there is a lot of activity that does not result in more value. It's probably an inherent feature of large organisations. 

Everyone's busy. There are meetings all the time, emails, slides and documents in all directions, processes to follow, tasks to tick off the list, courses, customers and a cast of thousands.

But here's the thing: Activity does NOT equal value.

Activity does NOT equal value

And if you can have that firmly fixed in your mind as a filter for your commitments and decisions, and be a person who brings that mindset to the work you do and the various contributions you make with others, you'll be actually adding value.

How Do You Do That?

  • By observing around you and noticing what's missing that needs to be there, or what's being done that isn't necessary at the end of the day. (See my post You Have Two Hats to Wear)
  • By asking questions in meetings like, "Let's clarify, in what way will this actually be useful? What's the real return on effort here?"
  • By articulating to others the tangible benefits of any action you're recommending. In other words, what will result and how is that worth it?

3. Get Traction

A corollary to #2, where activity does not equal value, is that planning does not equal results. It's the implementation of plans that produces results.

Someone once said, "I'd rather have an ounce of action than a pound of plans." 

The focus, they're suggesting, should be on execution or what I call getting traction.

Two Ways to Get Traction

  1. Always, always, always finish a phone call, email or meeting with 'what's next.' If you go to the trouble of organising a meeting with someone but it doesn't end up going anywhere, then why have the meeting? Develop the discipline of always finishing with, "So, what's next?" or "I'd like to clarify what will happen next." Link the current meeting with the action that should come out of it.
  2. Use the model Decide, Schedule, Do, Follow-up. When you come out of a meeting or off a phone call, you'll have Decided what should happen next. But to get traction on that you need to Schedule it into your-  and other people's - diary or calendar. And that's not enough: you need to Do it (or they do). And because you're often relying on others to do things, but you cannot control whether they will, an astute leader will also Follow-up to ensure it has been completed.

In a Nutshell

Unlock more of your leadership potential by:

  1. Acting more authentically - the true you is always more impressive
  2. Going for value - focusing yourself and others on only activity that will get results
  3. Getting traction - driving things forward so actual progress is made.

Want to Learn More?

I've created an online course The Art of Influence which covers how you can get more buy-in to your ideas, find new career opportunities and develop your leadership reputation.

The course contains short teaching videos, professionally-designed downloadable workbooks, and lots of practical tips you can put to work straight away. 

To find out more about the course, see the Resources section above.