Learning Leadership Skills 

People wrongly think that leadership skills are something you're born with. Some people might have a natural aptitude for leading, but it’s a skill like any other. It needs practice. Good leaders undergo a continuous process of learning and unlearning. Admitting to one's mistakes with the ability to learn from them is what catapults you to become a competent leader. Many great leaders practice the art of ‘keep going' despite encountering different forms of trial and error. All these together combine to create someone with the leadership qualities to adamantly blaze a trail through victory and loss. 

In this episode, Steve Grace shares his journey towards leadership. He explores the lessons he learned from good and bad leaders alike. Then, he defines leadership and enumerates what a person needs to do to acquire excellent leadership skills. You'll find out that leadership skills aren't something you are born with but something you learn, do and become.

If you want to learn what being a leader means and how you can become a leader, then tune in to the full episode.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Find out Steve’s top leadership qualities.
  2. Learn how getting feedback and understanding yourself are critical to being a better leader. 
  3. Discover ways to keep yourself focused and energized.


Episode Highlights

[02:50] Steve’s Favourite Word and Sound

  • Steve picked an easy-to-spell word: energy.
  • Steve loves the word ‘energy' because every action in the world is a transfer of energy. Furthermore, he agreed that ‘energy' is the drive of everything.
  • As for Steve’s favourite sound, it’s the sound of the wind because he can hear the power.
  • He then recounted that he enjoyed hearing the strong winds when he was in Sydney.

[05:50] Steve’s Last Meal

  • After moving to Australia from England, seafood became his favourite food.
  • While he wouldn’t pick a specific food or dish, he would have a seafood platter with the complete package for the savoury side.
  • For dessert, he would choose crème brûlée.

[07:31] If Steve Wasn’t an Entrepreneur, What Would He Be?

  • Steve was fascinated by the idea of being a rescue diver. He loves the ocean and lives for the adrenaline rush.
  • As a child, he wanted to be a helicopter pilot.
  • He also started kite surfing because he wanted to do something that terrified him slightly.
  • Doing something that terrifies you makes you feel alive. After that, everything else seems easier.

[09:43] Steve’s Journey

  • Learning tennis was a pivotal moment that brought him out of his shell.
  • Playing around Europe and living away from his parents significantly changed his personality.
  • He got his knack for entrepreneurship after witnessing his father dabble in all kinds of jobs to make ends meet.
  • He didn't last long in finance, but he enjoyed listening to people's stories and sales and thrived upon entering a recruitment agency.
  • In 1999, he moved to Australia because he loved the sun and the ocean. He then set up his own business after getting his residency.

[15:02] Leadership Skills That Stand Out

  • When you see someone being an entrepreneur, you start to understand it better and believe it’s possible.
  • Steve never had a mentor, but he had good managers.
  • For him, a standout leader would be Mark Bouris due to his authenticity and consistency.
  • Mark can be respectful without compromising his honesty, and Steve admires how he strives for the greater good.

[19:39] Learning From Bad Leaders

  • A not-so-standout leader would be someone he worked with for a while due to that person’s complete inability to see any failings in themselves.
  • Most upsetting to Steve was how they treated other people almost like a bully.
  • You learn a lot from good leaders, but you learn more from bad leaders because they teach you what not to do.

[22:07] Necessary Leadership Qualities

  • Steve has known many leaders through startups and in the scale up space.
  • Anyone can learn leadership skills, but some people have a natural aptitude for leading.
  • It’s only natural that leaders will make mistakes.
  • As a leader, finding out and doing what’s required at the moment to get you, your team, your clients, or your family to where they want to be is essential.
  • Leadership means being able to know when change is needed and taking action.

[25:37] Overcoming Challenges

  • His sense of urgency is a double-edged sword — while it has helped him a lot, he might end up taking action too quickly and dealing with the consequences.
  • Thus, a big challenge for Steve is slowing down.
  • There have also been challenges in market perspectives and connections.
  • Another challenge is people-pleasing. Although necessary to an extent for a recruiter, it should be moderated and rightfully placed.
  • Understanding and accepting your strengths and weaknesses is essential.

[28:49] The Importance of Feedback

  • Steve emphasized the importance of learning to take feedback, though he still struggles with it.
  • The greater your ability to take feedback, the more you’ll learn.
  • He firmly believes that if he had learned how to take feedback earlier in his career, he would’ve been much more successful by now.
  • You get feedback from the most unexpected places, so you must be more open to it.
  • Listening to people more helps you learn and grow quicker, so being open-minded to what you're not expecting to hear is part of a growth mindset.

[32:45] Emerging Trends in Recruitment

  • Currently, the Nudge Group targets startups and scaleups with no recruitment skills.
  • Steve's work involves lots of mentoring, consulting, and teaching people how to recruit rather than doing the recruiting himself.
  • Since the pandemic, conversations have centred around work-from-home policies and making an impact rather than finance, workplace benefits, etc.
  • People want the freedom to decide when they'll work, and they want to work in a business where they can make a difference.
  • Tune in to the full episode to hear Steve go into detail about giving people the freedom of choice and purpose-driven roles!

[37:48] Making an Impact

  • It's easier to see the effects while working for an Australian business than in US or European companies.
  • Many people switched from corporate to startups and scaleups. They feel that they can make an impact there.
  • If corporations can create an environment where employees can see the results of their work, they will not only retain employees but also inspire them.

[39:27] Staying Energized

  • Since lockdown, Steve discovered that going for a swim is more effective than coffee.
  • He also started to practice basic forms of meditation with a teacher’s help.
  • Sleep is powerful and has a more significant impact on your health and fitness than most people realize.
  • He’s still striving to do better when it comes to sleep, but he believes that people will see drastic changes if they work on their sleep.

5 Powerful Quotes


[17:55] ‘And I think overall, what he's [Mark Bouris] trying to strive for is good for everyone. And that's, that's not that common. I've learned over the years.'


[20:34] ‘I think those people [bad leaders] teach you more than anybody else. They certainly teach you more than the good ones, which is interesting. You don't necessarily recognize these things at the time.’


[22:47] ‘I think leadership is really about looking at what's required at the time to get you, your team, your clients, your family, whoever it is, to where they want to go, and it completely evolves and changes and then the world we're in at the moment, even more so than perhaps it ever has. And you have to be willing to change in a heartbeat to deal with a situation that's there.’


[30:18] ‘I have most of the stuff I've learned by doing things wrong myself. And if I'd listened to people more, I would have learned a lot more a lot quicker. And I think the best feedback comes often at the most unusual times for the most unusual places.'


[41:10] ‘Sleep is more impactful than any vitamins or supplements or and it helps you know. If you're into your fitness and you want to build muscle, it's more anabolic than any of the protein powders you could take. I don't think the world understands the power of it.’

About Steve

Steve Grace is the CEO & Founder of The Nudge Group. Aimed at startups and scaleups, they offer a system called “the nudge experience” which results in accelerated hiring and rapid growth. He is also the host of the Give It A Nudge Podcast.

An entrepreneur at heart, Steve has built and sold two profitable businesses before launching The Nudge Group in 2019. He’s incredibly passionate about helping startups and scaleups grow into unicorns and providing a global ecosystem of trusted providers that help companies scale. Steve is also an active member of the Antler Angel Investor Program and CEO and Publisher of Balance the Grind.

If you wish to connect with Steve, you may reach out to him on their website or his LinkedIn.

Enjoy This Podcast?

You might be born with a talent, but you have to nurture it. Not everyone is a born leader, but anyone can learn the leadership skills necessary to become one. What are you doing today to become a better leader tomorrow?

Post a review and share it! If you learned something by tuning into this podcast, do not hesitate to write a review and share it with your friends! The world needs more people with the drive and leadership qualities to make the world a better place.

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To leading the future,