Shannon Noll: What kind of leader?

Shannon Noll, a singer, a leader? Interesting spin right? We often look at politicians, CEOs, and the Gandhi’s of the world as ‘leaders’, but leaders truly are everywhere. It’s been a few weeks since I wrote my last post, but writing often requires a number of criteria to be met. The right story, and the right message. So, I would like to recognise some of these everyday leaders, and how they inspire or motivate others. But also consider how leaders are portrayed in fiction, in TV shows and movies, and what we can learn from that.


The leader in Shannon Noll?

This guy, the representative of the ‘true battler‘, the underdog, the guy many argue Guy Sebastian ‘robbed‘ an Australian Idol title from. Shannon Noll. The real question is what things define a person who can capture the attention of millions?

The first thing that comes to my mind is authenticity. It seems to me that a big portion of what makes Shannon unique is his ability to present a clear message about who he is as a person. This is something he communicates in a number of songs. The consistency in what he does enables him to transcend what we think of singers and associate Nollsie with a number of key characteristics which inspire. Leadership, the battler, a ‘true Aussie icon‘.

Throughout the process of his writing career, he hasn’t tried to be anything he isn’t. Some could argue that this has effected his success as a singer/song writer. Most would say his character has been long-lasting.

What does his latest song say?

Nollsie’s latest release Who I am is perhaps a response to the common memes which were generated surrounding his Idol second place.

“Caught me in second place | Put me back in the race” – Shannon Noll, Who I am. “I’m done with second place | Now I’m back in the race.”

He hasn’t pretended to be anything but a guy that does exactly what the ‘Aussie battler does. Moves on with challenges.

“Climb every mountain high | I’m giving all I can | Just try to bring me down” – Shannon Noll, Who I am.

Shannon claims the moral high ground, perhaps on the meme war, or the Idol loss. Regardless, being ethical and rising above the clutter is a key message in a number of his songs.

He also aims to fight on, to continue to battle when he needs to. Persistence is a key part of making sure that the hard parts of being a leader are successful. Not everything succeeds in the first instance, and that takes courage and fortitude to survive. His cover of Don’t Give up with Natalie Bassingthwaighte was a tribute to that message, when the going was hardest for Australia. During the ’09 Victoria bushfires.

“Cause I know how hard it can get | But you gotta lift” – Shannon Noll, Lift.

The takeaway

I could analyse the singer for a lot more, but I’m going to focus on three key points. Shannon holds a level of authenticity for Australians. He represents what we expect an Aussie battler to be, and for us, that’s okay. For leaders, being ‘true to self’ is important. Being self-aware enables us to understand who we are, and what we stand for. The second thing is being ethical is just as important. Aside from knowing what we stand for, we also have to consider how that impacts others. And also how our surroundings should impact upon us. Taking a moral high ground is great, but we need to constantly reflect on whether we actually are holding that ground. The third is to work hard to be persistent. Not everything is great straight up, so work for it.

  1. Be authentic.
  2. Be ethical.
  3. Have the courage to be persistent.

Good luck on your leadership journey.

*Image by Eva Rinaldi.