Are you a Tribal Leader?

Every great leader knows that we are only limited in how far we can go by how far into the future we are willing to look.

Reggie James
August 25, 2018

Do you want to be a great leader? Great leadership begins with a great vision. Vision is the seed of possibility born of our imagination. If you water and nurture that seed, you will realise your dreams.

A good friend of mine embodies this leadership trait. He has a passion for community service and social change and a bold vision for what’s possible, partly because he’s seen it and done it before. Working with at-risk youth in the United States, he created outreach programs that pulled youth away from crime and poverty, effectively altering the trajectory of their lives. It was this very act that laid the foundation for my friend Donald Betts to win the election for Kansas State senator.

Hearing his vision has inspired me to act on my dreams for similar outcomes. I’ve recently set into motion plans for a vision of my own, which is now beginning to attract the people and resources that will make it a reality.

What I know is that great leaders articulate a vision for the future. They have a persistent vision and can make change happen. They are “tribal leaders.”

Through your actions as a leader, you attract a tribe that wants to follow you. That tribe has a worldview that matches the message you’re sending. — Seth Godin (Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us)

[A tribal leader] gets together a group of like-minded friends and asks how they might make money. The relationships come before the business model; the tribe before the profits. — Dave Logan (Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups)

Tribal leaders build small groups of people united in purpose and vision. As a group grows, it attracts the people, ideas, money, and other necessary resources to become a full-blown tribe. Eventually, those tribes become movements.

Why You Should Be a Tribal Leader

Disruptors are coming in the form of artificial intelligence, automation, and autonomous self-driving vehicles. Researchers are experimenting with Hyperloop technology, promising to open regional cities in Victoria and New South Wales, while bringing travel from Sydney to Melbourne to a mere 45 minutes. As our world gets smaller and more technologically advanced, it is our leadership and relationship skills that will set us apart and keep us from being left behind.

More than ever before in history, everyone in an organisation — not just the boss — is expected to lead. Those that are being rewarded by the market are the individuals, the non-profits, and the companies that empower their workforce to innovate and create the most remarkable products and services. This type of change requires leaders at every level. This type of change requires you to become a tribal leader.

How to Become a Tribal Leader

You don’t need to wait to become a tribal leader. You don’t need a title, and you don’t need permission. What you need is to motivate, connect, and leverage.


Motivation starts with you. It starts with your dreams. It starts with your vision. What are you passionate about? What gets you excited? What energises you? Your vision needs to start there. Your vision needs to begin with something to which you can dedicate your life’s work.

When you have a fire and a passion and can articulate your vision, you will attract people who are like-minded. You will then have the ability to motivate them and begin building your tribe.


A chief job of any great leader is to connect the people within their sphere of influence. People who are in it for themselves hoard their connections and hoard information, believing that makes them powerful. This is a grave mistake. We are in a sharing economy, and it pays dividends to share our contacts and connect people within our tribe. Those connections allow us to take advantage of the third point.


Leverage is the ability to use the resources within your tribe to realise your collective vision. The power of all those connected individuals moving in unison has the ability to not only realise the vision but to literally change the world.

What do you dream of? What possibilities do you believe in? It doesn’t take much to bring your vision to reality. It starts with not limiting your imagination and believing in your unique strengths, talents, and abilities. It starts with putting together a plan, putting one foot in front of the other, and getting to work — if not for yourself, then for your tribe…they are waiting.

Figure out what your vision is and begin to articulate it within your organisation and among your friends. Grab a copy of Tribes and get inspired to build your own.

Reggie James is a CEO / Sales Guy at Beaker & Flint where he helps organisations build digital products and guide them on their digital transformation journey.
Have some ideas or questions you want to run by Reggie? Reach out either via the comments below or start a conversation by email here.

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