helpLess - Out now
Wednesday 6th April 2011 04:29am
The Curious Leader

When you think of leadership what comes to mind? How would you define it to you and for you? As I have evolved in my work in leadership I have begun to form my own definitions which at times contradict commonly held beliefs.

I work predominantly with those who have the title of leader. Many of them indeed are true leaders. But what defines them as such?

We all know that a title does not define the role nor the person yet, somehow as humans we give title a credence that overwhelms and at times disables.

However, amongst all those titled leaders exists other leaders. The un-assumed, the un-named, the un-sung and the unconscious ones. They are there all about us every day and if we care to think, we know exactly who they are.

They are everywhere, from the child that leads their parents into reconciliation to the worker amongst us who needs zero direction and who knows instinctively what to do and when to do it to best serve the business. From the parent leading the household to the friend who shines their light to lead another to theirs. These are all leaders.

Leaders comes in all different shapes and sizes. The recognition of this never more prevalent than now showing loud and clear through the Asian countries as the people lead themselves away from dictatorship, towards a life they wish to lead.

Why now after years of suppression do they find within the capability to take back their power and lead revolutions?

The answer is that no human is born without the capacity for leadership. Some walk through life without ever recognising it within themselves and have no reason to evoke it.

Others however are spurred by external circumstances to dig deep within to find it so that they can lead themselves out of danger, oppression, or being controlled by forces incongruent to the essence of their being.

You will know this for yourself. You can I’m sure recall moments when you were a kid that you lead yourself to safety and other times when you lead yourself into danger, just to learn!

The aged debate of whether leaders are born or made is merely a paradox to keep us thinking that it’s an either/or when in fact it is both and at the same time!! We are all born gifted with leadership qualities and then life lessons teach us how to make use of them. Hence why some never know they have them and others appear to have leadership ability in abundance.

The life lessons are only one way to prompt us to recall our leadership capability. But the other and much more powerful way which is more likely to service our discovery, is pure curiosity, a bedrock and essential quality of leadership.

Back to the Asian countries and their current situation and the question of why now?

Ultimately the experience of suppression is enough to create an unrest, but not enough to start a revolution. What has evoked the revolution in the Asian countries is their seeing and believing that alternatives exist. Which in turn evokes and provokes their curiosity about what those alternatives could bring for them, what new life and peace could be theirs. This is what starts revolutions and creates evolution. Curiousness is generative, it is a lifeblood for all humans and an absolute fundamental for leaders.

When curiosity is present self-ownership occurs and self-leadership prevails, yet never in isolation, always in relation to the collective. And when the collective is curious, there are no boundaries, nothing is impossible. Alexander the Great said “There is nothing impossible to him who will try”. It only ever takes one to plant the seed of curiosity for others to join.

As a leader, what are you curious about and how do you evoke curiosity in others? To find out more visit or email

Wednesday 23rd March 2011 08:16am

I'm getting ready for the Spirituality in Coaching Cafe tonight with me and Nigel in Gosforth.Book online at