Channeling Your Inner Savage Leader

How To Become A Leader

In business, we value leaders – at every level, in every department – but what does it actually mean to “be a leader”? How do we become one – and is there really only one kind of leader we should all be striving to be? To answer all these questions and more, we are joined today by Darren Reinke. Darren is the Founder and Managing Director of executive coaching and training company Group Sixty, and he is the author of The Savage Leader: 13 Principles To Become A Better Leader From The Inside Out. Here, he explains:

  • Why leadership cannot be given, only earned;
  • The massive opportunity (and responsibility) of mentorship;
  • The 13 Principles you can use to become a Savage Leader; and
  • What it means to be "Savage"!

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Behind The Book: The Savage Leader: 13 Principles to Become a Better Leader from the Inside Out

  • Over his career, Mr. Reinke has noticed that people were often thrust into leadership roles solely based on their ability to contribute as individuals. 
  • Being passionate about sports, Mr. Reinke was familiar with coaching, but not from a business perspective.
    • Through some challenges presented to him by a mentor, he took up executive coaching to help leaders build the skills they need to lead others as best as possible.
    • This mentor also challenged him to write a book, inspiring him to write The Savage Leader.
  • The goal of executive leadership coaching is to show people how to become a better leader to improve not only themselves, but the people around them as well.


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On Becoming A Leader

  • One of the most common reasons that leadership can be challenging is that many people believe that it’s something given, not earned.  
    • Business cards, email signatures, promotions, titles, and the like lead people to believe they are leaders when in reality, those things don’t make you a leader.
  • Leadership must be earned.
    • Becoming a leader means that you must understand, listen to, and be more than just a boss to others.
  • Leaders must also be anchored in their values. 
    • There are so many different sources of material, advice, and guidance on how to become a leader that it can be easy to jump from one principle to the next and lose sight of what your personal values are, which is what your leadership style should be rooted in.

It’s More Than Just What You Do

  • Soft skills are not always the easiest to understand and put into practice when defining how to become a leader, but those skills are what guides change.
  • A leader can outwardly show all of the right metrics and key performance indicators, but in order to become a truly great leader, the soft skills that speak to the person behind the job are essential.
  • While it is often believed that some people are born natural leaders, everyone can be a leader in some way.
    • There are surely some people who are born with a certain aptitude for leadership, but every person can discover how to become a leader in their own way.
  • Leadership is a concept that everyone can understand and apply in their own way, meaning that leadership skills can be taught, but it is up to the individual to decide how to become a leader personally. 

Mentors, Coaches, & Managers

  • Mentors, coaches, and managers have the ability to help light a fire under someone whether that mentor is a little league baseball coach or a professional mentor.
  • Being a mentor is both a massive opportunity and a massive responsibility, and great mentors are able to display and teach the soft skills necessary to be a great leader.

Becoming A Better Leader

  • Leadership tips and principles come from all different types of leaders.
    • We tend to focus on the Fortune 500 business leaders and their leadership styles, but there are people everywhere that can offer tremendous insight into becoming a leader.
  • In the process of writing his book, Mr. Reinke interviewed and spent time with the Navy SEAL community in San Diego, professional and college athletes along with athletic staff members at all different levels of competition, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, along with those Fortune 500 executives and discovered a wide array of leadership values from each group.

The Meaning Behind The Term “Savage”

  • When it comes to the term “savage,” people tend to think about raw, violence, and aggression, but the title of the book is based upon a different viewpoint.
    • Mr. Reinke defines “savage” as the ability and willingness to look inside of ourselves with the intention to be introspective.
      • This means to look into dark corners and face things that we may not want to confront.
        • Our self-loathing beliefs
        • Our doubts
        • Our fears 
      • Plus more positive things like 
        • Our values
        • What really matters to us? 
        • How to become more authentic
  • It takes someone who is “savage” to be able to understand how to become a leader and put in the work to do so. 
  • Savage leaders have a greater sense of intention to achieve their own definition of greatness.

Becoming A Leader From The Inside Out

  • More often than not, people associate becoming a leader with outside, observable behaviors (as opposed to internal skills and values), but both are important!
    • Outside behaviors are things like:
      • Becoming a better decision maker
      • Projecting vision
      • Executive presence
    • Internal skills are things like:
      • Understanding, identifying, and anchoring to our values
      • Understanding what it means to be authentic and working toward achieving authenticity
      • Discovering the best ways connect and engage with others
  • Another major aspect of becoming a leader is overcoming what he has dubbed The Triad, which is:
    • Self limiting beliefs; that 
    • Become doubts; that then 
    • Becomes fear
  • Becoming a great decision maker and leader is contingent on internal values and beliefs, so without developing those, it becomes much more difficult to evolve into a great leader.

Authenticity Is Essential

  • Authentic leaders are leaders who resonate with others.
  • It's important that we be truly authentic to who we are and the values that matter to us. Without that, we cannot be correctly perceived by others, and appreciated for who we are.
  • “Soft” skills like authenticity drive hard results because people trust authentic leaders who are willing to be vulnerable, share stories and show up in an authentic way with their teams

The 13 Principles to Becoming a Better Leader

  • The first and one of two foundational principles are your personal values.
    • Values are what anchor and guide us and the other 12 principles are built upon those values.
  • The other foundational principle is authenticity.
    • This refers to how those values are put into practice in an authentic way.
  • The true culmination of all 13 principles is meant to almost function as a choose-your-own-story book. 
    • While your values and level of authenticity will always be relevant, the other principles may need to be addressed only at certain times, similar to choosing the right story for the situation.
  • These principles can also vary in difficulty from person to person, and each person will have to find their perfect mix on how to manage each one.
  • To discover all of the 13 principles specifically and truly understand how to become a leader using Mr. Reinke’s strategy, you can purchase his book here.

The Savage Leader Community, Podcast, & Group Sixty

  • The Savage Leader Community is a group that is currently being built out to help people become better leaders.
    • There is already a private Facebook group and the group features some tools that are private to the members of the community.
    • People can learn from each other within this community and it is all about growth and how to become a leader. 
  • Mr. Reinke also launched his podcast under the same title, The Savage Leader, shortly after the release of the book in January 2021.
    • The podcast continues and deepens the conversation around the 13 principles in order to help listeners and readers of the book get the most out of it that they can.
  • Much like the book, Mr. Reinke’s company Group Sixty helps leaders and leadership teams develop from the inside out.
  • Group Sixty on Twitter
  • Group Sixty on Instagram
  • You can learn more about everything Mr. Reinke does and all of his leadership offerings at

Darren Reinke Background


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