I love writing. Writing is an expression of thought. The transitory captured. Ideas that would otherwise spin away, allowed a place to live. The page is a butterfly net.

The words we use are a prism through which our ideas are given focus and place. And yet nothing changes by writing alone. Turn the page, close the book, shut down your device and focus and place are gone. Ideas are illuminated by words, but are only brought to life by actions.

We must not over-estimate the usefulness, power and utility of words.

I must soon make a presentation about leadership. It is a big gig for me. A very senior and impressive guest list of people far cleverer than me and more successful than I can even imagine, flying in from around the world. I have been given the time, the platform and the goodwill to make a difference, so I have started to set down in writing some words about leadership. I want the words to be the best ones I can find. I want them to show what I think; I would love them to inspire, but I know they are not enough.

My words are not enough. I am not sure any words are enough.

Fundamentally leadership is finding a way to let go of words. We over-rely on them, we make promises with them, set objectives by them and build strategies on piles of them, but we do not need words to lead.

Leadership is in us. It is in all of us. I know this because I see it every day and so do you. The conscious decisions we take to act, to help, to console, to love, to share, to mentor, to teach, to give, to challenge, to be present. When we decide to be truly present in the moment, to be ourselves, to see what we have to do and then to act, then we lead.

Words allow us to conflate ideas of leadership with status, roles, titles and pay grades; to put distance between the words and ourselves. But leadership is about us, the best of us, whoever we are and whatever we do. Let’s not use words to deny what we are and what we are capable of doing. Leadership is stepping out from behind words and acting.

No more words. Act.

The End.

Paul Gilbert

Chief Executive, LBC Wise Counsel