Is There A Reason Why People Lead?

by | Mar 19, 2024

Article written by Nick Roud, Executive Leadership Coach.

Leadership is not for everyone, just because you are great at your job doesn’t necessarily mean you will make a good or great leader. It’s similar to the rugby analogy, just because you are a great player doesn’t mean you will make a great coach. Many competent professionals struggle to transition into leadership. Too many are thrusted into a people leadership role only to be left to fend on their own. Quickly that person will revert to what has got them success today and leadership has nothing to do with being technically good! Its all about inspiring your people to do amazing work!

Leaders are not born that are made, you will hear that from many scholars around the world, people far greater than me that share a similar thought that to become a great leader you need to invest in your own leadership development.

In my confidential coaching conversations with Chief Executive Officers (CEO) around the world, many say to me that at the beginning of their careers they had little to no desire to be a CEO. Many didn’t or still don’t see themself as a CEO, it’s just a title to them. They know it’s the people that make you a leader not their title. So why do these once subject matter professionals decided to take on a leadership position and then advance into the pinnacle of leadership the role of the Chief Executive Officer?

Many share with me that it wasn’t their dream but someone else who had a quiet ‘word in their ear’ about taking on a CEO role. That person saw something in him/her and felt obliged to give that person a little nudge of encouragement or thought. I meet a number of professionals who say to me I am ready, its my time, I deserve to be the CEO, guess what their focus is completely pointing in the wrong direction to be a great CEO its nothing to do with you and ALL about your people. This is where your focus must be.

When that person had a ‘quiet’ word in the ear the conversation might have gone something like this….

“Sally, I see something special in you, something I believe could be interesting for you to explore, I believe you have more to offer (untapped potential), how would you feel about leading our organisation?

Sure like any appointment there is a process to enter and go through but just like a strong tree it grows and develops from a seed being planted.

Most humans I meet are curious and just like that strong established tree in the picture above that seed which was quietly put in your ear by someone else the thoughts start to turn to curiosity and then into questions and then into some deeper personal exploration.

Possible sleepless nights tossing around the bed questions bouncing around, Could I be the CEO of the organisation?

I know that coaching CEOs and leaders around the world many if not all have self doubt and thoughts that they are not good enough, Rubbish I say as we start to put plans and thoughts together. Those curious potential CEOs then want to go a little deeper others may rule themself out without even trying and might as they reflect back in years to come wish they had actually given it a crack.

Questions may pop in their head, things like;

  • Why me?
  • What is the role of a CEO?
  • What is CEO leadership?
  • What does a typical CEO look like (I personally believe leadership is not a one size fits all thing)
  • What does a CEO role entail?
  • How does a person lead?
  • What are the characteristics of a great CEO leader?
  • How much do leaders get paid etc
  • Why me?

It’s important to take a step back and really focus in on what it is you want to do in your career. Leadership isn’t for everyone and that is ok. Every now and then I have clients call me and ask for a warrant of fitness (wof) check in. This is a great way to work with me over a couple of focused sessions to take stock of where you are at and where you are going.

Going back to that person who sowed the seed of thought in you and shared that they believe in you and your ‘un-tapped’ potential, I would encourage you to put in the hard work to explore thoughts. Is it something you really do want to do.

As an executive leadership coach I partner one-on-one with CEOs, executives and emerging leaders. Organisations around the world also bring me in to partner with their high potential people who have been earmarked as future potential leaders. Notice the word ‘potential’ leaders. Right now that organisation is unsure of his/her ability, desire and or want to take on a bigger role. The work we do together unpacks that and allows you to think in a safe place and work through options, thoughts, to understand your leadership strengths and development areas, to create a purpose and to develop an action plan leadership development plan that will ensure you are ready should a bigger position be put on the table.

We want leaders to have an external sounding board, someone away from the organisation who is not tied to any outcome, the only outcome that I focus on is you.

In a recent survey carried out by a global accountancy firm they concluded that 78% of newly appointed leaders said that they were given little or no support as they transitioned from a subject matter contributor to a people leader position. This is like putting a person in control of a rock ship and saying ‘have fun’! This is not a good approach and one organisations must avoid.

It deeply worries me that people are not given the right support and or development at the right time. Organisations must continue to educate and help leaders of today and leaders of the future. Right now March 2024, the world needs great leadership and just like a heart surgeon we want and need those leaders to be very good at what they do which is to lead organisations and people. 

So in my conclusion of todays article their is no concrete reason why people lead, that’s what makes my work the most interesting and fascinating work in the world, we are all unique, one size does not fit all and my role is to confidentially work with you and together we work on your leadership.

Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home; why shouldn’t you have fun at work?”

Richard Branson

We must look at opportunities in our professional careers, I encourage you to really listen when others say something like ‘have you considered’? You never know what might be unless you grab hold of it.


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630