IN TOUCH: Comment on leadership

While it is possible to easily recognise leader, it is much harder to articulate what leader is. They are, of course, someone with clarity in their vision and passionate commitment to that vision that inspires others to want to be part of their grand plan. They are compassionate, resilient and have an impatience around seeing their vision implemented.
In my view, great leader is someone who is fortunate enough to have an understanding of who they are – strong sense of self. They are able to look outside themselves and see world where they can make difference: not because someone they want to impress is watching but because they really care about making the world better place.
Great leadership is not about being inspirational and supportive because there is something in it for you. It’s about being inspirational and supportive full stop. It’s unconditional.
I don’t mind admitting that this is much much harder to practise than say. But I know from experience that when you give out unconditionally the rewards are far greater than when you give out in an effort to gain in some way.
Some of the most profound learnings and experiences in my life came out of beautiful friendship that I built up with man who most would call down and outer – one of those blokes that you would often see walking the streets with bottle of gin in each pocket and hope like heck that he wouldn’t ask you for fiver or sing to you.
Life had dealt my friend Brendan some very tough blows and life had won. One of the things I learned from Brendan was the importance of realising that luck does have lot to do with it.
Who am I to have been born into family that supported, loved and nurtured me? family that gave me the foundations upon which to build great life.
While life hasn’t always been bunch of roses for me, I’m equipped to handle those curve balls that life throws.
Who am I not to look for every opportunity to make the world better place and give hand up, without judgement or conditions attached?
Great leaders know they are not better New Zealanders than anyone else but they have an ability, and therefore duty, to lead. They create all that is good about New Zealand. They have responsibility to those who have helped develop them into the great leaders they are today. They are the privileged ones who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution, of life’s deepest joy – true fulfilment.
To borrow words from Sir Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” While I hardly know one end of yacht from another, there is no doubt in my mind of the mountainous contribution, in foreign investment, economic benefits and pure pride that Sir Peter Blake made to all the people of New Zealand.
I will honour the challenge that, through the Sir Peter Blake Trust, that giant of man and great New Zealand leader has laid down for me.
Spend few moments contemplating who you would nominate for the prestigious 2007 Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Awards. This is your chance to give something back to someone who has inspired or supported you.
Nominations close on 31 May. Go to

•Sarah Trotman is small business sector specialist, organiser of the Small Business Expo and founder of the Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards. Last year she was recognised by the Sir Peter Blake Trust as one of New Zealand’s emerging leaders. [email protected]

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