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Activate #5 Session One

Learning about what it means to be a leader is similar to catching smoke. It's never fully in your grasp and when you think you have it - well, you don't. 

But after the first session of Activate #5, it appears that maybe that's the point. 

Over the course of the day we're told that leadership is many things. 

We, as emerging leaders, heard from established role models like Rebecca Casson, CEO of Committee for Geelong and Kevin Larkins, CEO of Leading Australia, who both presented a multi-faceted view of what it is they perceive to be a leader. 

"Leaders should live in the gap," says one. "EQ over IQ," says the other, "emotional intelligence is what makes a leader."

We receive other learnings like,  

  • "Leaders are curious and driven by the need to improve." 
  • "If it's going to be, it's up to me!"
  • "Attitude trumps Aptitude."

The most common perception of a leader is someone we can look up to, someone we consider to be of high esteem and someone that is often separate from the others. Whilst both presenters note that yes, there are elements of feeling lonely, it is still apparent that you can't lead without community - you don't walk ahead, or behind - you walk next to. 

Again, none of this is a straight answer. The reason for this could be because behind every leader is a human. Humans are complex creatures - we can be our own hero, nemesis and often both. The overarching lesson of this day was that leaders are emotionally intelligent. Emotional stability influences all and the way to obtain this is through self-awareness and self-growth… Though this is considered a lifetime quest.  

It seems that the biggest learning of the day however, is that leadership is personal - and really the only summary of leadership is to summarise what it is to be human - complex, confronting and absolutely rewarding. ​



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