I talk about leadership a lot. And I have my own words that I use to help differentiate between leadership and management. 

  • Leaders unite people for the good of the cause through vision, values and aligning to the plan.
  • Managers nurture the uniqueness of each individual for the good of the cause.

After recently spending an amazing weekend with all the BRG companies – RedBalloon, Adrenaline, IfOnly, Marketics and Redii – I began to reflect on my own leadership journey and that of my business partner and CEO of the Big Red Group, David Anderson.

david anderson and naomi simson

This may be valuable in your own leadership journey, so here are five quick thoughts from me on effective leadership:

  1. Give up wanting to be liked. Part of leadership is making tough decisions – having to choose between resources, programs and plans. Not everyone is going to like it or your choices. Always have your eye on the north star and stay true to your values. Never make it personal. Some people just won’t like your decisions and they may not like you as a result. You are not there to please the crowd. Your role as a leader is to make the world a better place – for the good of all. There is a difference between being liked and being respected – always operate within your values and people will choose to be a part of the journey, or not. 
  2. Play to your strengths. You don’t have to be the world’s best at everything. There are other experts in the world who are just that, ‘experts’. Learn to ask for help in your area of ‘non-strengths’. Stay true to your superpowers, stay curious and always keep learning.

    “Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world.  Love what you do or don’t do it.”

  3. Learn to say “No”. If you are going to lead and have an impact you cannot do it all. Learn that the road to success is very much about saying a powerful “No” to the things that do not serve your purpose or the plan that you have set. It is okay to say no.
  4. Make a plan for what’s important. It’s very easy to work every day, all day, every hour. When you’re driven by purpose then it really is all-consuming. But what you don’t want to do is wake up one day and have no one to share it with. Make a plan and execute the plan for the other important things in your life. Family, parents, friends – have the same conscious determination about where you spend your energy and what is important. I have found that rhythm and tradition really help with this.
  5. Remind yourself over and over why you do what you do, and bring other people with you on that journey. Not just your colleagues – but your friends and family. When someone asks you what you do, answer with the ‘why’ you do it not the ‘what’ you do. Because of my ‘why’, after 20 years I am as energised as ever to ‘Shift the way people experience life’.

We are all leaders in some way because we all have power over the choices we make. We choose to participate fully, to truly engage and to align people around us to the things we believe in.

No one said that leadership was an easy journey. No one said that it wouldn’t be lonely at times. But if you want to make the world a better place, you are likely to ruffle a few feathers.


Naomi Simson entrepreneur co-founded The Big Red Group in 2017 which includes brands such as RedBalloonAdrenalineIfOnly and Redii.com. She has been blogging for a decade at NaomiSimson.com, is a professional speaker, author of Live What You Love & Ready To Soar, and a “Shark” on business reality show Shark Tank Australia.

Also published on Medium.

Also published on Medium.

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