How To Live Your Message

The difference between a highly effective leader and a low performing leader is one thing…Character!

What you will learn throughout my articles and my website is how to lead your team, grow your influence through your team, and through the organisation.

My goal for you is to start thinking and feeling like a highly effective leader, how to create a leadership culture, and create an environment to allow you and your team to achieve excellent results. This website and my articles are not about management tools or management processes.

1. Leadership NOT Management

When it comes to management, we must not manage people. Only processes and things can be managed. People must be led by a highly effective leader. Leadership requires thoughts and feelings of self and others, as management does not.


So, in each article throughout this website, you will only learn about leadership, and how to impact your own, and your team’s thoughts and feelings positively.

Highly effective leaders work on themselves every single day as they know it is so important to develop themselves. You will be the toughest, and most important person you will ever lead. So, it is just as important for you to work on yourself every single day too.

As you lead and develop yourself, you are respecting yourself. As you lead and develop your team, you are respecting your team, and you are increasing your influence with them on a daily basis.

By living your message, and leading your message through example, your influence will not only increase with your team, but throughout your organisation. To really live your message, increase your influence, and create a leadership culture, you must have a high level character.

2. Building Your Character

If there is something you don’t know, then you cannot teach it. If there is something that you don’t have, then you cannot give it away. Knowing this about yourself and being comfortable by saying “I don’t know” is how you build your character.

Highly effective leaders can increase their influence with anyone, not only their teams, or their colleagues. Highly effective leaders can lead teams in any industry, as the principles of leadership are the same everywhere.

What I share in may articles will help you to strive towards becoming a highly effective leader, and increase your influence with anyone. Whether it be in your current team, organisation, community, friends, or family.

To think, behave, act, and live like a highly effective leader, you do not need a fancy job title. You do not even need to be in a leadership position, or have any real authority. A leadership culture does not require your people to have any of these things.

However, there are lot of people who do think that you need to have the title, position and authority, and it’s because of that they struggle to create the leadership culture. They believe that you need to have the authority to be able to lead and achieve their desired results.

Highly effective leadership is all about who you are, and why you need a high level character. What you are, or your job title is not what highly effective leadership is about. You do not need to have a formal position or authority to be a highly effective leader. You do need to behave, think, and live leadership.

It’s all about respect. Having respect for your teammates, colleagues, and every person within your organisation is what is required to be a truly highly effective leader.

3. Creating A Leadership Culture

Respect is one of the foundations of creating a leadership culture. So, as you respect every single person you will then influence others to have the same respect by following your example.

Accepting responsibility for the results your team achieve is a trait of a highly effective leader, and should be adopted by everyone in the team.

If you are part of the team, and when the results aren’t as good as expected, if you start to blame others then you are on the path to becoming a low performing leader. Blame is not a trait of a highly effective leader, and is not welcome inside an organisation with a leadership culture.

Being authentic and valuing people is most important if you want to lead your team and your organisation through change. Especially if your change is a leadership culture, and is also your message. When leading change, it goes beyond changing things in people’s lives at work, it includes people’s lives at home too.

This change will also have a huge effect on your own life too, so do not underestimate that. In my experience having tried to initiate changes at every organisation I have worked at since 2009, change is personal and affects everyone involved.

This is what it means to live your message. Most organisations throughout the world do not really understand what change means, and what it means to implement change. The best change anyone could ever want to implement should be focussed on people, and how we can help our people improve.

To live this kind of change, we must improve ourselves, and lead the change by example.

4. Living Your Message

I began my engineering career when I was 16 years old as a mechanical apprentice in 1999, working for an automotive company in Liverpool. Following my apprenticeship, I completed my engineering degree, and it was then when I took my first leadership role in 2009 as a project manager.

From 2009 onwards I “climbed the ladder” working as an engineering production manager, engineering performance manager, senior engineering manager, senior engineering consultant, and now I am a writer.

In 2009, when I took up the role of project manager, I was working for Merseyside’s train operator, and my first project was to increase the fleet of train’s wheel life to six years. Without having any idea how to do it, I accepted the responsibility for this.

A few of the guys who I worked with did not give me a good vibe about accepting this project because so many people had tried this before, and failed.

My boss gave me 3 months to work with the engineering team. He empowered me to lead the team in working together to come up with a solution to increase wheel life. Then when we had the solution, I was to lead the team in initiatives on how we were going to implement the solution.

I worked with the engineers every single day for three months, and we came to a solution. This is what I call the beginning of my leadership journey.

Our solution was not a one off, it was making small changes to how we worked as an engineering team, and changing how we did our maintenance. Basically, we worked together as a team every single day to continuously improve ourselves and our product (train wheels). We were striving to become better every day.

If we work on ourselves before we work on anything else every single day, then we will improve. We will improve in our professional lives and our personal lives. When doing this we are improving what we know (competencies), and we are improving who we are (character).

While we are working on ourselves, we are leading ourselves better, and that takes courage. Leadership is not about you, but it starts with you. When leading others, either in a team, or when at home, this also takes courage. Do you have the courage to lead yourself, and do you have the courage to lead others?


Highly effective leaders have the character to lead and influence others through change to improve themselves, and improve the organisation. Low performing leaders lack character, and they do not lead their people through change well.

As a highly effective leader, your team and your organisation need you to pull through when it comes to implementing new changes. It will be your character that will either pull you up or push you down.

How much do you want to succeed? How willing are you to live your message?

To succeed we must work on ourselves every day and constantly learn.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (Lead, Grow, Influence)

22 thoughts on “How To Live Your Message

  1. Great message. So many people in our society are locked in to the mindset of “I’ll act like a leader when they pay me to be a leader”… that’s just not going to get it done. You need to “live” that now, be the leader with high character and success will be attracted to you.
    Thanks for posting!

    1. Hi Bob,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased the message of the article resonated with you.

      Leaders who have the motivation of being paid are not leaders at all. They are putting themselves before their people and are not living like a highly effective leader does.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  2. Great article Tom. The difference between managing and leading people is vast. In my opinion people prefer to be lead rather than managed, just like your posts confirm. Your posts and site are an excellent source of knowledge. Thanks for a great post.

    1. Hi Russ,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased you found the article valuable.

      There is a vast difference between management and leadership, you are right there. People would rather be influenced than told what to do or dictated to. Leadership is influence.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  3. Wow! This is so real and true. SO many “leaders” do not have character and expect their subordinates to do what they say and not question. Their “team” does the bare minimum and develops an attitude of entitlement. There is no respect on either side. This is great for those good leaders out there struggling because they don’t want to turn into those they see around them. Very motivating!! I loved your story of how you took things a little bit at a time, adapted as you needed, and were successful!

    1. Hi MommyASKK,

      Thank you for your comment and your kind words. It’s great that you found the article helpful.

      Character is so important when it comes to leadership, and we should be working on our character every single day.

      It’s great that my story resonated with you.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  4. Hi Tom, I would even say that leading change is the most important task of a leader in any position in an organization. It is interesting that you highlight the need for respect. We conducted a survey of staff concerns recently and the single most common thread that emerged from our department was the need for respect. This was a bit of an eye opener for me. Digging into this a little deeper many of our people were not feeling respected, either by our clients in the organization or by other managers and this was undermining motivation and having a whole host of other negative effects. Clearly one of the important starting points for every leader is to respect the people they are leading. Thanks for another excellent article. Best regards, Andy

    1. Hi Andy,

      Thank you for your comment and your kind words. I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      Respect is so important when it comes to leading a team or an organisation. You are right, the leader MUST respect the team first, not the other way around.

      Thanks for sharing your story from your place of work. Hopefully your leaders began respecting the people following the survey.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  5. Very motivational article for anyone who isn’t in a leadership position. So many people in leadership positions who could do with reading this too. Working on ourselves, setting an example and making more leaders is definitely the way forward. Your website overall is helpful to help people do that. Thanks for the useful information Tom! Stay well!

    1. Hi Sammi,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased you found the article helpful.

      It would be great if I could get more leaders to read and learn from my material, and at the same time still creating new leaders.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  6. I well-written article about leadership. I really like the focus you have on being a leader is not something you get by title. It is something you earn by respect. Respect you will get from your co-workers by getting your own hands dirty and accept the responsibility you have been given.
    I experience the difference on a daily basis as i am a deputy program manager in my organization. A lot of the mid-level leadership has not understood the difference explained in your article, and have lost the loyalty and respect they should have.

    1. Hi Roy,

      Thanks for your comment and thank you for sharing your story in your current organisation.

      Respect for the person is definitely earned, respect for the position is not. That’s why you don’t need a title or position to be a real leader.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  7. Hi Tom,

    I cannot agree more with your article. It is extremely important to understand people and stop trying to manage them. In order to become a respected leader that people look up to, you need to lead by example .

    Thank you very much for your article.
    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Yoana,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased you agree with the article.

      Leading by example is so important. Don’t tell people what to do, show them by demonstrating what you are asking for. People are far more likely to follow an example rather than just words.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  8. Hi Tom,

    Your information here is spot on. Well done!

    Having had a lot of man management in teambuilding and leadership skills I have the experience to go with it.

    It is amazing how much you can get out of people when you get them on your side, working with you, not for you.

    Having a nurturing work environment where everyone is as valuable as each other is good for getting the best out of people.

    Empowering others to do things on their own, for themselves is also another highly regarded attribute to being a good leader.

    Thanks for sharing,


    1. Hi Alan,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you found the article valuable.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts on leadership. I love how you say “It is amazing how much you can get out of people when you get them on your side, working with you, not for you.” Not a lot of people think that a leader should have people working “with” them, not “for” them.

      Thanks again for sharing your insights.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  9. I totally agree with you. Over 15 years I have worked at my job had a lot of managers come and go and I have seen the good with the bad.

    A good example I can point to is look around the store when you come in, if there are things left over on the floors, things left 1/2 finished you can see that you have a poor manager as the store will reflect vs a clean store with everything in its place and up to scratch speaks of a manager who has the respect of the staff..

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased you agree with the article.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences when working at your current role. You’re right, you can definitely see the managers who care and who don’t care by the environment people are working in.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  10. This is a great site! Thank you for this well written information. Perhaps I’ll send the link to the leaders in my place of employment. I think it’s important for a leader to know they are also still learning. Great article!

    1. Hi Teresa,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased that you found the article helpful.

      It would be great if you could pass on this article and my other articles to your leaders. It would be great if they get in touch and I could help them.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  11. Very inspiring article Tom! It covers really a lot more things that I actually believed were related to leadership. I also love the way you talk about how being a highly effective leader is not about just title and authority and how you emphasize the importance of respect. I will surely have a look at your other articles!

    1. Hi Adam,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that you found the article helpful.

      It’s great that you learned a lot more than you thought you would. If I can help you in anyway then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      You’re right, leadership and being a highly effective leader is not about title or position at all. We can influence anybody, as long as we do it in the right ways.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


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