I am Darren Horne, a leadership and communication consultant.

If you ask ten people to define the word leadership, you will get ten different responses.

Some people will link it to authority, or management positions, while others will focus on vision, empathy, vulnerability, or persuasion skills. The truth is that leadership is a mixture of all of them, and will change depending on context.

To put it simply though, leadership is influence.

We are all leaders. If you communicate in any way, you are leading. We lead with our words, our silence, our action and our inaction. And with the stories we tell.

Storytelling became a passion for me at 7 years old when I first saw the film Star Wars. This led to doing a communications degree, and a Masters in media futures.

For most of my adult life I have been an educator teaching media at Universities and Colleges, but I also managed a cinema, and ran a martial arts studio which focused on life performance and ego management.

They may seem like very different careers, but the thing they all have in common is storytelling.

The stories we tell ourselves, and the stories we tell each other.

The best stories will have courage, compassion, and curiosity.

The hero decides to get involved, to step out of their comfort zone and try and make the world a better place.

When my daughter was born four years ago I heard that familiar call to action. A desire to make the world a better place, and get involved in the ecosystem.

I realised that the skills I had developed were a perfect venn diagram to help people develop their own leadership skills, and their ability to communicate more effectively.

In my own life I had witnessed and experienced poor management skills, and toxic cultures.

I see stories all around me of unengaged employees, high staff turnover, staff on long term leave due to stress and burnout, and a lack of appreciation.

This is costing businesses a massive amount in terms of money and time.

It can also be so easily improved.

By embracing our leadership ability, listening with empathy, managing our ego, and focusing on effective communication