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Brave: 50 Everyday Acts of Courage to Thrive in Work, Love and Life by Margie Warrell

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—Chapter 24—

Sometimes when I'm running leadership programs in organisations, I ask people to put up their hand if they see themselves as a leader. It's always a good way for me to get a read of the room; to learn how many people perceive themselves in terms of their power, influence and ability to effect change.

Of course it's easier to feel like you're a leader if you're in a designated leadership role. It can be harder to feel like a leader if you aren't. But the reality is that everyone, regardless of their position, power or personality type, has the ability to lead others. All leadership begins within, by owning your power outwards to positively affect those around you.

I've met and worked with many people in senior positions of leadership over the years. Some have been quite charismatic, with a special way of making everyone around them feel valued. Others have been more introverted and less at home in a crowd. Some have been true visionaries; others happier in the details.

What sets the best leaders apart isn't their superior intelligence, charismatic charm, a strategic mind or any of the other traits we often associate with leadership. It's who they are as human beings: authentic, purposeful, trustworthy, unpretentious, reflective and courageous in their own way. Yes, they have healthy egos, but they haven't been run by them. Yes, they are ambitious, but none are arrogant. ...

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