Your Past Plays A Significant Role In The Way You Lead


by Kevin Watson



Whether you believe that leaders are born or made, the past is playing a significant role in the way you lead your people and your organisation.

So it seems respectful to once again `tip your hat’ to the journey that has brought you to where you are today.

In the midst of our hectic schedules at home and work, we focus so much on what is happening right now, and what is likely to come over the horizon, that we often forget to reflect on where we’ve come from.

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on my past and the experiences that have shaped the way I lead. It’s been such a revealing exercise that I’d like to invite you to have a go, too.

So, find out how your past played a significant role in the way you lead by first grabbing a pen and piece of paper.

Got them?

Right, let’s go…

Write down your answers to the following questions:

  • What lessons from the past helped you to discover how to get the best from those around you – and yourself?
  • Who are the significant people who helped you be the leader that you are today?
  • Which set of experiences has led you to be who you are now?

Don’t forget to give yourself credit for the journey itself, the hard times and the good! Give yourself a big pat on the back for just that.

Now consider…

  • Who were you ten years ago?
  • How much more do you know now than you did just five years ago?
  • How much have you grown and developed as a leader even in the last twelve months?

Give yourself a metaphorical round of applause for all of the learning, and ask yourself `where next’?

Having acknowledged your wonderful past and congratulating yourself for being a great guide and travelling partner, consider what action you are going to take to move forward and continue your unique leadership journey.

Remember, it’s never too late to have a great past and it’s never too late to create a wonderful future.

The greatest leaders learn from both.


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About the Author

Kevin Watson

Kevin is a highly experienced Leadership Coach and acts as Consultant to several boards of global organisations, as well as local business owners. He is passionate about making a difference by enabling and encouraging leaders who want to create and sustain meaningful change in themselves and the organisation.


1 Comment

  1. Glenn

    Hi Kevin,

    What an excellent post. Reflection is such an important skill and often overlooked, not least for the reason you touch upon i.e. our busy lives and dealing with the ‘now’. Yes, it is easy to focus on the immediacy of work and what is ‘coming over the horizon’ as you nicely put it. However, making an effort to allow yourself some time to step back is so important. We know that many professionals are aware of this and at a personal level only yesterday,I was sharing views on this with a consultant colleague.

    You sum it up very well, that we should learn from our past and actively work to shape our future (personally and professionally).

    Best wishes,


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