This powerful acronym reveals four secrets of a responsible leader

Inspiring entrepreneurs and those looking to embark on a personal leadership journey is second nature to Stephen Engels, author of the cutting-edge book 'New Success Paradigm: A Personal Leadership Discovery Platform'. In this article, he unpacks four key areas for a "responsible leader" using the acronym, I.D.E.A.


Engels has successfully positioned himself as a specialist in the domain of leadership and management development. With an unmatched passion for developing the skills and talents of people and organisations beyond their expectations, he understands all too well that in order to inspire change in others, you need to inspire change within yourself.

The journey of responsible leadership begins, he says, when you focus on the things that are most likely to bring you real meaning, fulfilment, and success. 

In his latest book, Engels has created – based on two decades of research – an integrated system that not only shapes the conversations you have with yourself, but inspires the conversations you have with others which in turn positively influences or confirms your values and points of reference.

To help point you in the right direction in your quest for responsible leadership, he has developed a simple way, using the powerful four letter acronym, I.D.E.A, (Impact – Decisions – Example – Awareness).

Understanding your own leadership journey will change your effectiveness as a leader”

George A. Kohlrieser

As the book suggests, personal leadership is expressed in various ways including:

1.      The way you lead yourself, and the way you control your life.

2.      The way you express yourself through self-determination, and

3.      The way you define and express the legacy that you will hand down to your dependents, or successors.

In guiding or transforming your life based on the values, filters and points of reference that you develop for yourself over time, you may potentially have a positive impact on the lives of some of the people around you and you could also get the privilege of inspiring responsible leadership.

Responsible leadership, he maintains, is a multi-faceted leadership style requiring a moral mind-set, that holds benevolence as a key value, and which puts the souls and needs of the people one leads at centre-stage.

Stephen Engels, author of ‘The New Success Paradigm: A Personal Leadership Discovery Platform’

Four key areas for a responsible leader

Angels has developed a simple way to remember the four key areas for a “responsible leader” using the ‘I.D.E.A’ acronym.

Some explanations that illustrate the four key focus areas for a responsible leader are given below:      

·        Impact – Leaders need to be aware of the positive, or negative impact that their communications will potentially have on their environment, as well as on the people that they lead.

·        Decisions – Generally speaking, people do not like to make decisions and rather prefer to “sit on the fence” when facing a difficult choice. However, a good leader actively makes measures decisions and good decision-making is, in fact, the only way to move forward in any discipline.

·        Example – Leading by example is extremely important, so as not to become an “armchair leader”. In leading by example, a leader stands to become a role model to others.

·        Awareness – Developing a moral-minded sense of awareness in the people who one gets the privilege to lead is an extremely important process, as awareness is the first phase in every area of our lives.

Angels believes that in our rapidly changing world, three foundation stones are increasingly relevant in the expression of leadership excellence, namely:

(i)              Character.

(ii)             Personal Leadership, and

(iii)            Responsible Leadership.

He suggests that “this insight is borne-out by the observation that characterpersonal leadership, and responsible leadership were distinguishing hallmarks of some of the outstanding leaders the world has seen.”

He goes further to suggest that “Through enhancing the way in which you lead yourself and your life, you can empower yourself, and potentially improve the way you lead others.”

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