“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself.

When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

— Jack Welch

People think that leadership is about position or title. I beg to differ. Leadership is about what you are willing to do and how you can encourage those around you to do what they might not want to. In this article, you will discover what I believe is an overview of a few Keys to Leadership that are supported by experiences from my life and others that I have observed. While you might not appreciate this, every success that you have accomplished in life is a direct result of leadership principles. 

You may not have thought of yourself as a leader or that you had accomplished much. That is where I found myself in 2008 as I transitioned out of the corporate world and (eventually) into my own business. For many people, they think that leadership is something that you acquire over time. While I think that there is a level of truth in that premise, I would like to think that you can be a leader at any age and stage of your life. 

How Did the Daughter of a Peasant Lead France to Victory? 

You may have studied, or at least heard of, a young girl who, at the tender age of sixteen, started to lead and unify the French army during the infamous Hundred Years’ War. Her name was Joan of Arc, and she is known as the catalyst that helped her nation regain sovereignty from the English in the fifteenth century. 

Joan indicated that it was around 1424, when she was twelve, that she began to experience visions that she described as both verbal communication as well as visible figures of saints and angels whom she could see and touch. Her own testimony as well as a royal document say that on at least two occasions, other people could see the same figures. 

What is fascinating about her story is that a young teenager with courage was able to cast a vision of what could be done to change the fortunes of a war-torn country. Whilst her time on earth was short (she was burned at the stake in 1431 at the tender age of nineteen), her legacy lives on. 

 How Old Do You Have to Be to Become a Leader? 

Irrespective of your age, I want to encourage you to understand that leadership has nothing to do with the mechanics of a chronometer. 

Upon graduating from university with my Master of Science degree in 1984, I joined the workforce in a full-time capacity. Aged twenty-two, I started my role as Electronic Test Engineer. It wasn’t a glamorous role, but it provided me with an acceptable income stream that helped me to pay for my first car. 

The timing of my appointment coincided with the promotion of my manager from Head of Electronic Test to Operations Manager. I was told to hang tight and to report to him until a replacement was found. 

As it turned out, over the next six weeks, candidates rode a merry-go-round through the office door – unable to secure the role.  When I was approached about taking over as Head of Department, I was chuffed (that’s English for honoured!). If the truth be told, I was quite cocky about being selected. But this turned out to be a baptism of fire. 

It certainly proved that age wasn’t a barrier to leadership roles, but my lack of leadership experience was compensated for by strong interpersonal skills. 

Take the time to think through all the times when you were in a leadership role whilst in your younger days. Whether you captained a sports team at school, were a house prefect, or took office as a student leader, compile the list of your accomplishments. And no matter how small or insignificant the role was, take the time to document it on a piece of paper or in your journal now. 



Do I lead or manage others? 

A good way of linking to the answer of this question is to consider the following. Management consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal (usually it is task focused). Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organisational success (usually this is relationship focused). 
The more that you can build up relationships with others the better your ability to lead. God desires a relationship with us. It says in the Bible (1 Peter 5:7) “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” If God cares for us, then we, as leaders need to care for others. How much time are you dedicating to building relationships with others? 

Do I communicate my vision without creating relationships?

Leadership author and teacher, Dr. John C. Maxwell says in the Law of Buy-In (found his best-selling book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership) that “people first buy into the leader, then the vision”. As a leader, are you using communication to cast a vision before you ask people to buy into you as a leader?

I love the scripture that identifies the power of setting a vision. In the Book of Habakkuk, Chapter 2, verses 2 – 3, the writer says, “Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. 3For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.” Whilst we are encouraged to write the vision, we must remember to connect with the people to get their buy-in first.

Do I ask for a hand before I touch a heart?

Another law from the same book, the Law of Connection, stated that “leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand”.
When it comes to connecting with people, you can show that you care for them by allowing them to feel that they can meet you in a safe place. In my book, Leading From The Stop, I share a story of setting up a safe platform for my son to know that he could come to us. This framework is easy to use. Simply say to people:

  • You’re not in trouble;
  • We believe in you; and
  • We’re here to help

From a scriptural perspective, consider the following viewpoint that is found in the Book of Philippians, Chapter 4, verse 6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

Now that you have three questions to ponder, take your time to review your leadership status. I am often asked, “Are people born as leaders?” The answer is no – babies are born. Remember, leadership develops daily, not in a day. 

I will be writing regular articles here to allow you to grow in your leadership journey over the coming months. Make sure that you bookmark this article and join us as we regularly update you on leadership lessons.  B




Elias Kanaris helps leaders lead. He is a thought leader in the area of resilience, leadership and building trust. Elias is an author and speaker. He has written three books on leadership, resilience and finances, and has spoken in 13 countries, on four continents.

Elias is the CEO of the Insight and Strategy Group and has served as President of the Global Speakers Federation (2018-2019) and was the President of the National Speakers Association of New Zealand (2015-2017). He is also a Founding Partner of Maxwell Leadership® – the largest and fastest-growing leadership training organisation in the world – where he is a certified Coach, Trainer and Speaker in the Maxwell Methodology®.


In a time of need there is no better feeling than to know that someone, even a person you had never met before, truly cares about you. This was basically the approach of the citizens of Gander and the surrounding towns for the days that followed September 11, 2001. The needs, worries and care of others became ours. Through it all strangers became friends and then became family to us.


Elias has written a short Whitepaper on Building T.R.U.S.T. to help you, as a Christian Business Owner to build trust in your organisation, Get your FREE copy delivered straight to your inbox.


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