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Successful leader: 3 Steps to become a naturally successful leader


Becoming a naturally successful leader has taken on new significance and become even more difficult.

Extreme climate change events, COVID-19 health and wellbeing challenges, and social change movements like #enoughisenough and #blacklivesmatter demand new ways of leadership. Our environments and systems are changing faster than our bodies and minds can adapt. Heightened uncertainty, hybrid workplaces, work culture challenges, and higher standards for environmental, societal and governance issues increase levels of stress, frustration and overwhelm.

When we become so focused on artificial, external worlds, we lose our connection to what truly nurtures and supports us: the natural world and some timeless wisdom principles.

Being a naturally successful leader

When contexts change fast and our focus fixates on a wide circle of concern, it’s time to return to our human roots and focus on what we can control: our circle of influence. It pays to move the goalposts closer and make them smaller. Starting from there, we can slowly increase our influence and be more impactful with less stress. We become naturally successful leaders – energised, influential and impactful. But how, exactly, can you become this type of leader?

Wise leadership – a different way of leading

I want to introduce you to “wise leadership”, a renewed, holistic perspective on leading yourself and others in various contexts. Wise leadership as a successful leader puts equal importance on three areas: self, stakeholders and systems.

We often forget that we can only give what we have got. Thus, before you can lead others effectively, you must take care of yourself. Leading stakeholders means activating the best in them, and leading systems requires you to be fully aware of all relevant contexts, allowing these to be your guide.

Each of these three leadership areas is fully activated through a three-step practice:

  1. Connect
  2. Care
  3. Commit

Connect, care and commit are perpetual learning and leadership processes. They are critical skills of wise leadership, and developing them will help you to become naturally successful.

  1. Connect is about awareness

To connect means to notice what matters. Self-awareness is noticing what is happening in and around you. You observe your situation calmly, with curiosity and compassion. By accepting what is, you can pinpoint challenges and their causes. Accepting something does not mean you condone it; it simply means you observe a reality.

Awareness is also about noticing others. Great communication skills are based on knowing what is happening for another person. You make an effort to get to know your stakeholders. Context awareness is fully sensing the system around you. This means you can pinpoint the best levers for change.

  1. Care is about action

Care means acting with a deep sense of consideration for people, the planet, and all beings in nature. You approach leadership with care and thoughtfulness. You have the courage to be vulnerable and kind. You align your vision, values and purpose with new insights, then decide on your action steps.

Care skills include energy management (caring for yourself), collaboration (caring about relationships and others), and stewardship (caring for nature, the planet, and all surrounding systems).

  1. Commit is about accountability and delivering results

Commitment means taking full responsibility to create positive, win-win results and change – and holding others to the same standards. You spread hope and aim for constructive impact. You implement your action and accountability plan while being flexible and adaptive. Committing to a win-for-all philosophy enables you to influence stakeholders more effectively. By defining what success is for you, you become dedicated to a specific, positive impact.

A holistic way to achieve success – naturally

By practising all of these wise leadership skills, you will move from stressed to energised, insignificant to influential, and overwhelmed to impactful. Adopting the principles of “connect, care, commit” will make it easier to show up as your best, fully energised self. Quite simply, you will be able to give more.

When learning to manage your energy better, you will see other areas where energy awareness and management are important. You might see and feel more connections with other people and systems – nature being an important one. Greater awareness of our nature connection is not only crucial for successful leadership; it is vital.

With connect, care and commit, you will find clarity on the right things at the right time. It will become easier to activate the right people to support your cause and projects. Importantly, you will achieve more with less stress as your positive impact as a naturally successful leader grows.

About Ingrid Messner'

Ingrid Messner, author of Naturally Successful: How wise leaders manage their energy, influence others and create positive impact, is a mentor, coach, facilitator and speaker who supports leaders and teams to optimise their positive impact, performance and wellbeing. Using a holistic and practical approach, Ingrid improves leadership effectiveness while connecting people with nature and ancient wisdom. Find out more at

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