How Kim Namjoon, RM of BTS, inspired me to be a better leader

It is no secret that Kim Namjoon and BTS, overall, have been a big inspiration in my life for the last 2 years, but it is important to express how Namjoon played a role in inspiring me as a young leader.

Luke Waltham
5 min readAug 28, 2019


BTS at the United Nations HQ in New York, and Namjoon delivering his renowned “Speak Yourself” Speech.

Positive role models, motivational, impactful leaders and individuals are crucial in our society today. We are living in uncertain times where young leaders have to rise up and tackle important issues. As someone who has been in leadership roles, I often look to fellow leaders for guidance, advice, insight and inspiration.

I am so grateful for being introduced to BTS’s music, as I was able to learn from them, understand and agree with their imperative philosophies and life lessons, whilst also being an ARMY who loves and supports them wholeheartedly. At the same time, I took the opportunity to learn from Kim Namjoon (RM) because he is a humble, inspiring, generous, golden hearted man who is also the leader of BTS, and notably, a leader of a movement for self awareness and self love.

It’s okay to make mistakes

A beautiful lesson that all leaders can learn from Namjoon is that is okay to make mistakes, and take responsibility for them. In a world full of corruption, problematic behaviours and decisions, we unfortunately have situations where leaders are not willing to be held accountable. Instead, they take criticisms as “personal attacks,” and in some instances, would rather play the victim card than account for what they have said or done.

Unlike the “status quo” of many leaders, Namjoon opposes the thought of disregarding critiques and comments when it comes to possible problematic behaviour expressed, especially things from the past. He acknowledges past mistakes, and is open and honest about learning and unlearning. In fact, he has gone on to educate himself, and to ensure that he does not repeat past mistakes. He teaches us the importance of growth of a person: you are not perfect; you may make mistakes, but it is your responsibility to be willing to change in order to become a better person.

Be Open to New Ideas and Knowledge

One thing that many ARMYs have loved about BTS’s music is that the majority of it is based off of intellectual ideas, theories and academic pieces or critical, fictional pieces. Ranging from psychology theorists such as Carl Jung to writers such as Murakami, BTS has directly and indirectly encouraged ARMYs to read more and embrace new ideas, views and concepts that we may have not considered before.

This goes hand-in-hand with Namjoon’s open willingness to learn and grow. Being exposed to new sources and pools of knowledge, whether they are in the form of experiences or in written form, so that we are able to provide more insight and constructed ideas to the team.

Giving Others a Voice

Despite being the leader of the group, Namjoon ensures that members’ voices are heard and respected. It is comforting and encouraging to watch interviews, concerts and discussions, and notice that members of BTS will be given the chance to speak and express themselves. This is important because it teaches us all that each member of any team should have a voice, a voice that will allow themselves to be empowered and heard.

In leadership, this is important for groups, teams and movements you lead. Do not be the single voice. Allow people to speak out, to express themselves and be themselves. By encouraging and dialogue and inclusivity, you will be able to achieve a more unified approach to tackling issues, challenges, or working towards goals! When it is time for others to shine and step forward, allow them to do so.

Dedication and Perseverance

An important lesson to learn from Namjoon is not to give up on yourself, your team and the goals that you have. You have dreams and aspirations that are worth pursuing, and there may be major barriers in the way, but it is definitely possible to work towards achieving them.

For Namjoon’s, he had a passion and a dream to become a famous rap artist and producer. Obviously that has been successfully achieved now, but it was not an easy road to get where he is today. What we can learn from him and all members of BTS is that there will be “road blocks” and “rivers in the way” but it is possible to build bridges to surpass anything that tries to prevent you from succeeding.

Love Yourself and Speak Yourself

“Tell me your story. I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin colour, gender identity: speak yourself. Find your name, find your voice by speaking yourself,” Kim Namjoon.

Perhaps the best message that is needed in society today is the beautiful, empowering, uplifting message of BTS. “Love Yourself” has been an era of BTS which has now become an intrinsic part of who they are and what they represent. Namjoon, being a leader and spokesperson, has eloquently expressed the meaning and process behind “Love Yourself”. It starts with a person understanding and becoming aware of who they are, followed by being able to face themselves and their fears. After this, they’re able to reach a point where they can love themselves and openly express who they are, what they identify as, and be unapologetic about it.

BTS has made their message clear about the Love Yourself Process. In order to truly love others, you need to be able to love yourself. Unfortunately, this has been difficult for many, but it is crucial to achieve. It is also vital for a leader to take part in this process, because it will allow them to become leaders of integrity, who are genuine, who stand by their beliefs, and will not lie and be consumed by superficiality.

It is these, and many more lessons, that BTS and Namjoon have taught me, and have allowed me to become a better leader. BTS is leading a movement of change, a revolution of self-love, and the revival of vibrant, honest and giving leaders who selflessly care about the people they represent and work with.



Luke Waltham

Luke Waltham is a BA Law Graduate. He is a BA Honours student and has been an activist for transformation, social justice and human rights. #BTSARMY