Siobhan Harper-NunesDevelopment, Relationships, The Simple Things

Lollipop Leadership

The seeds of these words were born from a workshop I was asked to deliver on leadership for social entrepreneurs. I developed the theme further for my delivery of Inspirational Leadership for the women leaders of Birmingham. I’m just writing a new workshops for Little Leaders, so the theme of Lollipops will be well used. 

So many people talk about leadership these days. I suppose it comes and goes like the flavour of the month so much so that the term feels a bit old and a bit worn…

What’s my leadership style I hear you ask?
• I’m a democratic leader – I talk to my team and we make decisions together or …
• I’m an autocratic leader- I just tell people what to do and they do it or…
• I’m a laissez faire leader – people just know what they need to do because I’m so cool and they just do it.

And then there’s the myriad of leadership characteristics:
• She takes us with her..
• We understand her vision..
• When she speaks everyone gets it…
• She’s focused and never waivers from the cause…

But what are the qualities she displays?
She’s bold, she’s confident, she has a deep rooted self belief, she’s honest, she epitomises integrity. She’s has a sense of humour, she’s resourceful, she has the ability to delegate, the ability to inspire and she has a positive attitude.

And what are her skill-sets?
She’s a strategist, a visionary, a communicator – yes she’s a leader.

I need to get me some of those.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of great leaders my first tier are people like Ghandi, Mandela, Martin Luther, Churchill and even Thatcher. Maybe in my second tier I see the Orpah’s and the Obama’s. My first thoughts are always of the great and the good, dynamic charismatic human beings who “HAD A DREAM” and who changed the world.

That’s not me. Too flawed, too ordinary…

What about you?

Don’t you have something you believe in? Do you have values you wanna share? Are you honest? And aren’t you part of this movement we call “social enterprise”?
Come to think of it, don’t we all share a common cause – a common vision? Yes that’s right we believe in a world where business recognises not just profit but people and planet. We believe in a world that is just and good, a world where people are treated with dignity and a world where business plays fair.

When I was asked to deliver a session on leadership I wanted to get out of the hum drum and looked, as I often to, to TED Talks for inspiration. Just 10 minutes to influence and inspire and in today’s “give it to me now” society, I think the immediacy of that platform really works but I digress.

There in the wee small hours, coco at hand (fair trade of course) in front of my recycled wooden desk, Labrador snoring contentedly behind me, I found Drew Dudley and I was inspired. Check him out – it only takes 10 minutes, but you’ll see where the lollipops fit in.

Basically, Drew talks about “Everyday Leadership”, the times in each of our lives, days, customer interactions…the times as parents, friends, passers-by, ships in the night, where WE get a brief opportunity to influence. And yes, surely that’s the whole point of leadership? In his story Drew tells us how he realised, years after the fact, how much he’d influenced a young woman’s decision and changed the course of her life with a few words accompanied only by – yes you got it…A LOLLIPOP!!!

Well it got me thinking of the title for my workshop: Leadership and Lollipops.

Just like a lollipop, our transactions may be small but let’s make them sweet, colourful, memorable. Let’s practice our lollipop leadership with every interaction through our smiles, our words of inspiration, our commitment to a shared vision, our integrity, our marriage to our values of love, the common good, a fairer world.

Like Drew I believe we are all potential leaders, we can all hone our leadership skills, our styles, our qualities but by simply believing in a society that can be transformed through the social enterprise movement we are indeed all everyday leaders and with each simple transaction which affirms our values, we have the power, like that lollipop, to transform lives.
Now that’s the kind of leadership that will change the world. Rest easy, you don’t have to be a Ghandi, an Oprah, an Obama, you don’t even have to be a Roderick or an Oliver… All you need is your own continued belief in a just society, in your values.

In fact all you have to do is to believe in what you believe and keep handing out those lollipops.

Inspired by Everyday Leadership with Drew Dudley TED TALK 


Siobhan Harper-Nunes, is the Founder and Director Shakti Women an organisation dedicated to supporting business and professional women to realise their dreams. She is a “can do” motivator with vast experience in supporting others to be their very best and to live life with passion.

She is a lollipop leader.