As an attendee at a speaker’s training, the facilitator, Izzy Gissell, asked for a volunteer. Given the audience was ALL speakers — you know, people who aren’t afraid to be in front of others and speak — it was shocking how many of them looked away hoping not to be called upon.  

Mr. Gissell chose one of the few eager attendees and proceeded with the exercise. When it was over, he frequently referred to the volunteer as the leader, even though he was clearly the leader of the event. He then asked us how we felt when he asked for a volunteer. The answers were as you would expect: nervous, uncomfortable, afraid of being called upon. Then he asked how we felt after he had chosen the leader, and the replies were predictable as well: relieved, relaxed, reengaged…

“And THAT is why I call her a leader,” he said. “Leadership isn’t just about what we do or what we know. A lot of leadership is about how we make others feel when we do what we do and share what we know.”  


Great leadership allows us to be better, braver, more effective, more confident, more comfortable that we can be on our own. When we are around great leaders it can seem like they believe in us better than we believe in ourselves — which in turn helps us to really, truly believe in ourselves.

How does your leadership make others feel?

Photo by Varvara Grabova on Unsplash