Guerrilla Leadership: 3 valuable lessons from leading on the frontline

I am excited (and a little nervous because of the personal nature of this) to share with you my latest White Paper: Guerrilla Leadership: 3 valuable lessons from leading on the frontline.

Have you ever been so afraid that you lost all sense of time passing? My first night in the jungle was like that….


I am sitting cross-legged on the floor of a small bamboo house in a jungle refugee camp on the edge of a war zone on the Thai-Burmese border. My body is paralysed with fear. How did I get here? I’m just a regular 26-year-old Australian woman; I grew up in the country; I have no experience of war; and I can’t speak the local language. What do I do now?

In walks a 4-year-old girl. She is small, dirty, and dressed in tatters—not at all how I would expect a leader to show up. She steps forward, smiles and takes my hand—the hand of a white, first-world woman—and guides me out of my fear. She doesn’t speak my language. She speaks the language of courage and compassion, and in this moment, she teaches me everything I need to know about leadership.

She leads me away from my fear to what would become my new community, a place in which I learned unlearnable lessons… Lessons about Guerrilla Leadership. And lessons about myself.


So began the phase of my life I think of as ‘in the jungle’. I settled in as the English teacher and the only ‘foreigner’ in a refugee camp of 4000 people; I made friends, learned the language, and (almost) got used to having a bunker dug under my house.

In the two years that I lived in the jungle, I never felt such fear again, despite threats of kidnapping and cross border shelling—such was the power of the lessons I learnt from my 4-year-old leader.

The other leader I learned from was the guerrilla fighter I met on my first weekend in the jungle. This White Paper outlines three of these key lessons, and how they apply to leading yourself and leading teams.

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What could you learn from Guerrilla Leadership?


Go fearlessly