Leadership According to Kelly Poulas


Whilst in Jakarta approximately 10 years ago i was lucky enough to meet writer, speaker, and Leader, Kelly Poulas.

Kelly is a dynamic, practical go getter who demands full-in commitment and she get’s it from most people since they know that whoever gets in the mix with Kelly are likely in for a leadership learning roller coaster resulting in becoming a more advanced  knowledgeable leader themselves.

The following is a summary of a classic Leadership interview with Kelly some years ago.

Question: When Starting a Project how to get people to buy into your project and get them into action.

Kelly: first let’s look at the definitions of Leadership and Management because many people get this wrong.

Leadership is getting things done through people
Management is a set of business practices, administrative

Some positions demand skill sets for both and Leadership AND management.

Leadership is not coming from a place of power but a place of co-operation.

As a leader of a PROJECT there are 4 basic characteristics which need to be at 100% to ensure success at 100%

  1. Develop a compelling Desire – This energizes you
  2. Belief that it can be done (self 1st) belief in the value of what you are doing – sustains you
  3. Action – transformation idea to reality
  4. 4. Iron will- takes you through the real tough times


1. Compelling Desire

Imagine you are hungry okay that’s easy to overcome. But now imagine you are really hungry and that you have not eaten for 16 hours:

– Hunger – Now you’ll eat ANYTHING – COMPELLING DESIRE

So a compelling desire is emotional and NOT a goal.  If you are externally drawn physically and internally driven = must act on it.

Your work may not compelling but if it leads to a Compelling Desire it puts a whole new meaning to ordinary work.

Example: Kings palace construction:
One bricklayer may describe his project as just the usual .. putting bricks on-top of each-other to make a brick wall.
Another bricklayer may say.. i am creating a beautiful piece of art as part of the kings palace.

A leader must communicate the end vision to the team and WHY it is important – It must become emotional – others would be drawn to the idea.

The leader must SELL the project –

Must Involve others personally…Hey, this is gonna get tough…

Leader + team MUST develop a compelling Desire

2. Belief

1st – Self belief. i have conviction and i am going to get the job done. FAITH even though don’t know HOW.

2nd – belief that what we are doing is of value.

when you start to doubt – be clear about the original goal etc.. talk to someone NOT to the people you are leading.

attitude – skills – many people have the same skills – your energy, belief, your attitude is the difference… without YOU the ENERGY is different.

Ability to release stress.. stress is our enemy.
Kids for example MUST be in an environment of peace.. to allow, creativity, motivattion, safe and free to express, no fear.

Must have the team that BELIEVES – MUST sell it to them.

Don’t know HOW.. but we know that we ARE going to get it done… must get that belief.. in ALL the Team members.

It is the learners mind that produces innovation… and where creativity is born..

Adults do not want to be controlled..better results come from collaborative.. + community to get the best results and decisions along the way that everyone buys into.

3. Action

All the ideas and belief in the world won’t get the project done. Taking action even if it is NOT perfect action must start as soon as the basic plan is finished. Further analysis may continue but taking action, the first steps on the project is essential to start at the earliest possible stage.

Enrol action takers on your team.

4. Iron Will

Iron Will (not stubbornness) will get you through the tough times. This trait is rarely found but for most projects to be seen through to the end a leader must have this characteristic.

Without the iron will of the leader the golden gate bridge would not have been completed. Disaster after disaster, many natural and many man-made would have defeated most, even the most hardened leaders but it was eventually finished purely because of the leaders incredible iron will.

As a leader do you have these characteristics?  If you are weak on any of them go get them strengthened.

Kelly is a master leader with all 5 characteristics at 100% – Develop your leadership muscles too.