Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912)


As a leader you have a lot of influence. Inside the bubble, you run the meeting and every head turns as you have the last word, there’s only one person to pick up the bill, important decisions fall to you.

These are the centre-stage acts of leadership you judge yourself by. You know every eye is on you and you play your part — not as an actor, as the leader.

But you’re not just a leader on special occasions. People still pay attention when the stage lights dim and the curtain closes. You may as well live in a follow-spot.


As a leader you have a lot of influence. Outside of the bubble, people notice what you do and the way you do it — like how you get everyone to speak at the meeting, like always saying thank you when the waiter brings the bill, like staying out of the way so others can make decisions.

These are the offstage acts of leadership that your team judges you by and it’s here that you have the most influence, because influence is magnified by time and attention.

GE’s Jack Welch once said that the culture of an organisation is nothing more or less than the way the leader behaves. His point? Everything you do as a leader is seen by, picked up on, talked about and mimicked by those around you. They don’t just judge you, they follow you.

You know that, right? If you walk past litter in the corridor, so does everyone else. If you scream and shout, so does everyone else. And if you give credit, encourage, care and have fun, so does everyone else. The spotlight shines on each nod, shake, tut and smile.

A thousand little things

For every act of authority, tough decision, or hard turn you take as a leader, there are a thousand little things with more pervasive influence.

Every single thing you do influences every single person around you. In other words — from you today, from your team tomorrow. Don’t put on an act, but do pay attention to the things they pay attention to, and use your influence wisely.