Leadership is the one topic where I regularly succumb to clickbait through news and social media.

I find headings like the following both abound, and are irresistible: “Five ways to improve your leadership today”;  “New research finds one key ingredient for leadership success”; “Top tips from globally renowned leaders”.

I’m not tempted by clickbait about health, celebrity gossip, the latest news headlines, etc. Here’s why I jump at seemingly easy leadership gains (presented in five clickbait style points):

  1. I’m not there yet. I’ve been experimenting with leadership for a long time. I believe leading is a never ending pathway of learning. Know someone who says they’ve nailed leadership? I’d fail them based on that claim. There are great leaders. But it’s only when we’ve rid the world of its problems, we know we’ve perfected leadership.
  2. It’s easy to do better. Some days I show good leadership and some days I know I could have led better in a difficult situation. Leadership clickbait provides short bursts of motivation that help me do better as I navigate through my day.
  3. Constant reflection and focus is important. To improve, I need to practice leadership. In a busy life, accessible snippets via social media when I’ve got a couple of spare minutes provide focus and an opportunity to reflect on my performance. Focus, practice, reflect.
  4. Good leadership is critical. We need visionary leaders who galvanise others to contribute willingly and productively, so that we progress socially, economically and environmentally. We need leadership to grow people’s potential and support their wellbeing, to increase tolerance and understanding of each other. Its importance is why I indulge in leadership clickbait, rather than celeb gossip.
  5. Lead from where you stand. Leadership is not a job title, nor is just about the workplace. It’s a personal quality we all have that we can use to make life better for others. Leadership is supporting people in everyday interactions to give them a boost. Leadership is parenting that encourages children to be kind. Leadership is standing up for what is right, and speaking out against what is wrong. Clickbait helps me with the dozens of daily leadership opportunities in my work, volunteering and personal life.

Disclaimer: This is not to say indulging in clickbait will generate great leadership. Deeper planning, study and thought are required for. But snacking on leadership titbits is helpful for me.

What are my tips for leadership? There’s more than enough advice out there, so I’m not adding to the clickbait. Instead I’m recommending it as an accessible, snackable way to keep inspired and on track to leading from wherever you stand.


Sue McCabe is Chief Executive of the Who Did You Help Today Trust which grows the helping movement in New Zealand and runs programmes that mobilise more people to volunteer. Sue reckons the words leadership and helping are pretty interchangeable. www.whodidyouhelptoday.org and www.helptank.nz.

Sue co-founded the Community Comms Collective with Gail Marshall. The collective offers free communications support to charities, including matching communications professionals with time to give with community organisations needing help.  www.communitycomms.org.nz