The Leader’s Guide to Writing

How Keeping Track of Ideas Can Fuel Leadership Skills through “Awareness Writing”

Holly Lyn Walrath
Write Weird
Published in
7 min readAug 16, 2021
Photo by RF._.studio from Pexels

As a freelance editor, many of my clients are respected business leaders and community civic leaders. I’ve seen how they’ve taught themselves to succinctly summarize an idea — boiling it down to its essence so that it’s easy to understand. The most successful leaders use writing as one of many tools to succeed and focus their thoughts.

Business owners and leaders already spend a lot of time writing. From emails to orders to proposals — professional writing skills are essential. You may notice that the most successful leaders are often articulate, quick-witted, and shrewd communicators.

But the kind of writing I’m talking about isn’t just business communication. The most successful leaders engage in a type of writing I’m calling Awareness or Meta writing. It’s the act of writing about what you do and why you do it.

For example, if you’re a community leader of a nonprofit, you might write about why you came to this career and what your community needs to thrive. It sounds simple, but the act of writing about what you do as a leader can build awareness. When you’re more self-aware, you’re able to connect to the people you work with to build more real relationships.

And there’s actually research to support this theory. One study from 2017 found that “…self-awareness and authenticity are the main foundations for inspiring followers and implementing a shared vision” (“How To Become an Inspirational Leader, and What to Avoid,” Journal of Management Development.)

Subscribe to get all my articles in your inbox

Why Writing Is Important as a Leader

Writing Helps You Think Ahead of the Curve

MIT’s Sloane Review found that most employees don’t feel their leaders are up to the task of keeping up with a digital world. Part of the problem was that most leaders are thinking in the “old world” and aren’t able to free their thinking to keep up with today’s changing…



Holly Lyn Walrath
Write Weird

I'm a writer, editor, publisher, and poet. I write about writing. Find me online at www.hlwalrath.com or on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath!