Becoming a Leader: Lessons Learned from Seth Godin

Published 12. 7. 2023

I am deeply moved by Seth Godin's insights and feel an irresistible urge to pass on his enlightening wisdom to you.

As a manager, I'm always on the lookout for ways to grow. Not just professionally, but personally as well. I aspire to be more than just a manager; I want to be a leader. This aspiration led me to a talk by Seth Godin, a renowned author, entrepreneur, and public speaker. His insights struck a chord within me, and I felt compelled to share his wisdom with you.


Seth Godin's Leadership Insights

Godin begins his talk by asking us to imagine our ideal boss, co-worker, or employee.

What attributes would they possess?

Loyalty, fearlessness, creativity, trustworthiness - the list goes on. But are these attributes gifts we're born with, attitudes we develop, or skills we learn?

Godin argues that most of these are attitudes. This means we can decide to adopt these attitudes, making them skills that can be learned and honed. This is a powerful thought. It means that we all have the potential to become the leaders we aspire to be.

As I reflected on this, I realized that leadership is not about innate abilities but about the conscious choices we make every day.


The Art of Decision-Making

One of the key responsibilities of a leader is making decisions. But how do we define a good decision?

Godin emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between good decisions and good outcomes. A good decision is not necessarily one that leads to a successful outcome. It's about making informed, calculated choices, even if the outcome is uncertain.

This resonated with me deeply. As leaders, we often find ourselves under pressure to deliver positive outcomes. But Godin's words reminded me that our focus should be on making sound decisions, even if the outcomes are uncertain. This shift in perspective can be liberating and empowering.


Not Being Afraid of Change and Innovation

In a rapidly changing world, Godin warns that management fails. We need to lead, not manage. Leaders take responsibility and inspire others to follow them. They are not afraid to challenge the status quo and innovate.

This brought to mind a quote by Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, "Change before you have to." As leaders, we need to be open to change and ready to guide our teams through it. We need to be the catalysts for innovation and progress. This is a challenge I grapple with daily, and Godin's words served as a timely reminder of the importance of adaptability in leadership.


The Power of Empathy

Godin highlights the importance of empathy in leadership. He argues that understanding the needs and perspectives of others is key to effective leadership. This resonates with me deeply. As leaders, we need to step into the shoes of our team members, customers, and stakeholders to understand their needs and expectations.

As Atticus Finch said in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird", "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." This is the essence of empathy in leadership. It's a lesson I strive to remember in my interactions with my team.



Godin's talk left me with a renewed understanding of leadership. It's not about authority or management; it's about taking responsibility, making informed decisions, embracing change, and practicing empathy. It's about leading from the front and inspiring others to follow.