Global Leadership Network UK & Ireland

GLN UK & Ireland

Life and Leadership – Roger Fairhead – 1

Interview series with leadership specialist, Roger Fairhead

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

For most of my life, I have drawn inspiration from authors.  I travelled a lot in my early career and often found myself browsing the airport bookstores.  Here, I would go in search of books by Peter Drucker, Ken Blanchard and Tom Peters. More recently, I have enjoyed the writings of Jim Collins, Seth Godin, Simon Sinek and Craig Groeschel. 

The most significant impact on my thinking has come from John C. Maxwell, who started writing about leadership in the 90’s. Before then, as I recall, a lot of the literature had focused on management. John C. Maxwell brought leadership to the fore and it resonated with me profoundly, so much so that I eventually joined The John Maxwell Team.  In addition, I have found tremendous encouragement and challenges to grow from a variety of people, both on a one to one basis and in Mastermind Groups.  

The person who has perhaps had the greatest influence on me in a one to one role has been my son, Adam.  Adam and I have spent many hours talking about business and leadership, and I always find our conversations enlightening, often challenging, and always encouraging.  

I can vividly recall the day when we decided, “let’s build a website together!” We were standing in our kitchen with a laptop open on the table. The internet was in its infancy in the mid ’90s and Adam was still in junior school. I’m not sure that we ever made that website, but it played a part in Adam making computer games and selling them to his friends in the playground at high school – it was 3.5” floppy discs in those days! Over time, his entrepreneurial interest in web design grew, and he built stunning websites for people while he was still studying. It was little surprise that he graduated with 1st Class Honours in Digital & Web Design and started his own company some 15 years ago, which was about four years after I launched my own business. 

When you start your own business, the issues around leadership and management become immediate. Although I had some years of experience in sales and marketing from my previous employment, I inevitably had lots of questions to explore. It was the same for Adam, and we walked the leadership journey together with our fledgling businesses. 

After 10 years of building my business, Adam said something which gave me the confidence to put it down and start in a new direction. I had felt an urge to pursue my core passion of speaking, coaching and training, with a particular focus on leadership.  I can still hear Adam’s words to me at the time when he said, “Dad, I’ve learned more about leadership from you than from any book or from anyone else.” 

Looking back over the past few years, Adam has been involved in another turning point. He showed me a poem entitled, ‘The Man in the Glass,’ by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr. It has proved a key driver for me and I have it on the wall of my office as a constant reminder. These two lines jumped out at me:

“The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.”


About Roger

Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.

Visit Roger’s website

GLS Mastermind Groups

Roger is developing Mastermind Groups for GLN Members and GLS attenders. Contact us for more details.

Life and Leadership

–is an interview series with leaders involved in the Global Leadership Network and the Global Leadership Summit. Interview by Will Salmon.