I am getting ready to go to a Leadership intensive with my coach, John. We will be exploring what it really means to lead.

In my life I have followed more than I have lead. Being a strong leader is something that I have come to very recently; when I lead my clients or a room full of people, and yet there have always been times in my life when I have had to lead because that is what was required.

My dad had parkinsons. He was diagnosed when I was about 17. I didn’t really understand what it meant back then, but over the years as my dad became less able to do things for himself I had to help him; to speak up. A key time when I had to assert my leadership was every time he was admitted to hospital.

Hospitals in the UK are great at helping people who are able. As long as you can walk yourself and manage your own medications it is a good place to help you, but if you are not self reliant; if you have to take medications at specific times or need help going to the toilet, they tend to fail.

There are not enough staff to care for patients like that and so when my dad went in for a hip operation and had to have his parkinsons medication every 4 hours, it was a problem. They automatically changed his times to fit in with them; changing the hour and from 4 hours to 6 hours; but they didn’t understand that you can’t do that; that it would affect him badly and upset his whole system; that he would shake; he would get upset; that he would freeze.

I had to speak to the matron in charge and get her to prioritise his tablets; to change the schedule for the ward to help my dad as he needed to be helped. It was not easy and took many meetings to get it running properly, but together we did it.

Moments like that, when I took the lead and it helped my dad are some of the times I am most proud of.

Now, in every moment I have a choice whether to lead or to hold back and wait; to follow. I choose to lead.

As you go about your day today, pay attention to those moments of choice and ask yourself; Am I leading or am I following?

Then, decide who do you want to be?

If you want to be a more powerful leader, enter your email address at the side and receive insights to help you on that path or email directly at david@davidsaville.co.uk