The Top 5 Things I have learnt from Leaders - Em Stroud

I sometimes forget that I have been coaching some of the top business players for over twenty years. I still remember the first few people I coached when I was in my mid twenties – some of whom were a lot older than me and had loads more life experience than I did. However they trusted me and I did some very cool things with some awesome people!

Now as I find myself in that place called mid age (how did that happen) I am starting to appreciate that maybe in these twenty years I may have learnt stuff that can help you right now. So here we go…

1. Everyone has fears, anxieties and has moments where they deeply question themselves. There has been no CEO, COO, CFO or any other big job title that I have not worked with. Each and every one of them has deep human fears and challenges. Sometimes it is easy to look at our leaders and think they have “got it” or they have “made it” – in many ways they have but trust me when I say each of them has at least one thing they are working on.

2. To get to a place of leadership and success everyone has made sacrifices and taken risks. Be that they missed stuff with their kids, carried on a firm when they had no money or just put in more hours than was healthy.. they have taken risks and made choices – not everyone wants to be or indeed should be a leader – yes the rewards are great but these sacrifices are true too.

3. That most leaders have learnt not to get so fixated about their weaknesses – they start to play with their strengths and really find and build teams of people that are not the same of them. The truly brilliant leaders that I have seen and worked with really know themselves – this happens because they know that self reflection is key, they invest in themselves and they admit when they don’t know things.

4. They understand and appreciate the value of being a truly brilliant communicator. A lot of my work has been about helping people really think and grow about how they come across and playing with their strengths. One of the leaders I worked with was a quiet man who had been told he needed to be loud to have impact. Not true. We found his calm presence and worked on that. He is now one of the most in demand business speakers as he is true to who he is.

5. Never stop learning. A lot of people I have worked with have worked with Executive Coaches, mentors and therapists – most have not worked with a Coach who is also Clown and a Comic – I am different and I work in a different way to others (note not better) – to truly get brilliant keep being curious, go and explore in different worlds. Be a beginner again.

I am always so grateful to get to work with people and every person I have worked with I have learnt from them as much as they have learnt from me. Hope that you have found these lessons useful.

Em Stroud

Em Stroud is a best selling author and the co–founder of Laugh, Think and Play. Em speaks on how laughter and fun can impact leadership, teams, engagement and culture.

Em helps business leaders and their teams to put the fun back into work so they can be more confident, creative, collaborative and ultimately, more successful. She is the author of ‘Lessons from a Clown’ and ‘Lessons from a Clown Playbook’ and hosts the UK top 30 podcast ‘Clowning Around’.


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