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Power to lead is in all of us
Nora Tong
update on Saturday, July 17, 2010

For many of us, work is merely a means to pay the bills, or a way to get through the humdrum of life. However, leadership expert Robin Sharma argues in his latest tale on success - The Leader Who Had No Title - that every job presents an opportunity for us to express our best.

The key, he says, is to demonstrate leadership regardless of our titles in an organisation.

This is not to say that titles should be discarded, which would lead to chaos. Rather, the author suggests we assume personal responsibility by becoming the chief executive of our own roles.

"You just don't need formal authority to [lead] - only a desire to be involved and the commitment to making a positive difference," writes Sharma, who has been working with Fortune 500 companies for more than 15 years.

He believes we all have a natural power to lead, inspire and innovate, and that we can awaken our inner leader.

Readers learn about the principles and tools of leadership through the story of Blake Davis, a down-and-out bookshop salesman whose life is transformed by conversations with his unkempt mentor and four advisers with seemingly humble jobs.

Presenting the secrets of excellence in the form of a fable makes the book a lively read.

Readers are likely to remember how Davis digs out a tablet from a graveyard with "10 Human Regrets" inscribed on it - intended as a reference to mortality and a reminder of the urgent need to perform his best - or the way Anna the housekeeper, one of his advisers, passionately delineates the meaning of "Image": innovation, mastery, authenticity, guts and ethics.

The author also offers practical tools for readers to act on the philosophy of leading without a title.

These range from a section entitled "instant action step" at the end of each chapter, proffering tips such as to "record an inventory of all the areas ... where you are avoiding personal responsibility" within the next 24 hours, to words of wisdom by the protagonist's mentor and advisers, including advice from Jet the massage therapist to "get up an hour earlier every day and spend 60 minutes in self-development".

Sharma stresses the importance of practising the principles persistently on a daily basis.

"Successful people all perform the same few leadership disciplines. [Their] seemingly small, insignificant daily acts of excellence stack up over time to a best-in-class career and ... personal life."


  • Leadership is about having unshakeable faith in your vision and unrelenting confidence in your power to make positive change happen.
  • Activate your ideas with focused, consistent action.
  • True leaders are impeccable with the words they use - they don't gossip, complain, condemn or swear.
  • The deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership will be.
  • Your expectations will become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Guide for leaders coming soon

Title The Truth About Talent: A guide to building a dynamic workforce, realising potential and helping leaders succeed

Authors JacquelineDavies and Jeremy Kourdi

Publisher Wiley

Subject Leadership development 

In this new book, due to be released in September, the authors argue that organisations should recognise that people at different stages of their careers, and with different experiences and aspirations, need to develop and engage in different ways.

The book provides a practical guide explaining how to segment the workforce, why, what to expect when you do, and how to ensure that this approach succeeds.




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