Leadership requires bedrock of character

05 Sep, 2021 - 00:09 0 Views
Leadership requires bedrock of character

The Sunday Mail

Hunt for Greatness
Milton Kamwendo

The call of all leadership is building, with vision something that is worthy. It takes work to articulate a clear vision.

It takes even more work to build a strategy that brings a vision to life and makes it believable. It takes even more work and discipline to commit to implementing the plan of action that is aligned to the strategic goals.

Leaders do not just look at obstacles but create ways to deal with the obstacles. Leaders are everywhere and at every level. Choosing to lead is boldness, choosing not to lead is irresponsible behaviour.

Leaders build and pray for power to stay in action.

In my High School, our School Song was a prayer by St. Francis of Assisi (1181 – 1226 AD). The prayer reads:

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

where there is hatred,

         let me sow love;

         where there is injury, pardon;

         where there is discord, union;

         where there is doubt, faith;

         where there is despair, hope;

         where there is darkness, light;

         and where there is sadness, joy.

          “O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;

         to be understood, as to understand;

         to be loved, as to love;

         for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Amen.

This is the prayer of every great leader. You lead yourself, you lead others, you lead with others and you are also led by others. No person assumes a single state all the time.

Desire not just to be a peace-keeper but a peace-maker. Leaders are best when they make a difference and lead with clarity, vision and focus.

Where you lead, be the salt and make a difference. Leaders are sowers. Sow great things and see the greatness in people before they see it in themselves.

Great leaders build through the force of example.

People needy to be able to depend on your leadership. Leadership is not a just about gambling with other people’s fate. It is serious building work and people hang their faith and futures on leaders. Your example set the tone and communicates the values that matter.

As a leader you lead yourself, and others. Leadership is great responsibility that requires a bedrock of character, clarity of vision, and the heart to build.

As a leader you influence by modelling the way; by being the change that they wish to see.

You lead best when you lead from the front.

Do not wait for the grand stand to be an example, live the example daily. It is an awesome responsibility and a great call.

People do what they see you do. As a leader the best instrument you have to demonstrate leadership is yourself.

If you want to see builders everywhere, speak the language of building and demonstrate building. If you want to see passion, demonstrate passion.

By your leadership inspire others to dream and see possibilities. Keep hope alive and communicate hope. Help others believe that the future exists, and it will be brighter and better.

Being a leader is being a dealer in hope.

Leaders build bridges to the future and inspire trust.

The greatest area of example for any leader is for you to be a learner. Never be satisfied to be a leader who has plateaued. Lead in learning, growing and improving. Seek improvement, a better way, and better results.

Great leaders lead by example in taking responsibility.

Be willing to take responsibility when things go well. Leaders learn how to receive applause, honours and acclaim with humility and grounded thinking. Leaders also learn to take even more responsibility when things do not go well. It is impossible to be a leader and never be criticised.

Leadership is not a calling to entitlement but to thankless work and when necessary swallowing pride and bearing criticism.

Leadership requires the heart to bear criticism with humility and the skin to bear burdens without crumbling. Leaders learn how to accept criticism with poise because you learn from the feedback you get.

Feedback is the nourishing meal that every good leader needs. Feedback helps the leader improve, grow and develop.

When you stop listening to feedback as a leader, those around you also stop giving it. A leader keeps asking how he can do better. Then when told, takes it to heart and does it. When you can no longer take feedback you cannot move forward with leadership and you can not grow.

Mr. Marshal Goldsmith is known around the world as a coach to some of the most successful leaders.

His view is that some of the things that make leaders successful are the very things that put off the people that follow the leaders.

He has come up with 20 habits that leaders need to stop as they put off other people and sabotage leadership efforts. Check yourself and your own leadership behaviour against these.

Here are Marshal Goldsmith’s 20 Bad habits of Leaders:

  1. Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations.
  2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
  3. Passing judgment: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
  4. Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think make us witty.
  5. Starting with NO, BUT, HOWEVER: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone that I’m right and you’re wrong.
  6. Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.
  7. Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
  8. Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work”: The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.
  9. Withholding information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.
  10. Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to give praise and reward.
  11. Claiming credit that that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
  12. Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behaviour as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.
  13. Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.
  14. Playing favourites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
  15. Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognise how our actions affect others.
  16. Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.
  17. Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.
  18. Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us.
  19. Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
  20. An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.

What a list of 20. Every time I read this I always pick two or three habits that I need to work on.

Leaders learn to bear defeat with dignity, because greatness comes when you move from failure to failure without losing your nerve, vision or enthusiasm.

Leadership will always be a team sport. Leaders know that to win as a leader there are people that contribute to your success and greatness.

To be great as a leader there are always some people who hold your ladder for you. Leaders think seriously about the people that hold their ladder for them. Never think that your ladder depends on your brilliance.

Leadership is a daily journey and not a destination.

It is a process of maturing, growing and building  within and without. Unless you are willing to take the challenge, swallow pride (often) and step forward and lead, you will never learn. It is always better to try something and fail, than to try nothing and win at leading no one.

Leadership is an energy intensive job that requires grit and stamina. Without energy a leader has no channels for creating results.

A leader’s critical job is directing the energies of people toward noble visions.

When you direct energy on the negative you lose focus and your mind remains clouded by doubt, despondency and despair.

When you direct energy on vision, hope and possibilities ahead, you marshal unseen forces, liberate talent, and potential.

Leaders learn how to wait and to sustain their stamina over a long period. Leadership is a time intensive task.

To sustain your stamina develop leadership disciplines, renewal practices and greater self-awareness. The leader’s fortress is within.

Take time in reflection, meditation and prayer. No winds blowing above a leader’s head can shake off the confidence and anchor within.

As a leader you are able to pick yourself up in the down-moments.

As a leader you are also able to calm yourself in stormy-moments.

Great leaders learn to lead themselves and develop private victory. When you win within, whatever happens without can be dealt with eventually.

Do not lose heart.

Keep leading and building towards greatness.

Committed to your greatness.

Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author, and a virtual, hybrid and in-person workshop facilitator. He is a cutting-edge strategy, team-building and organisation development facilitator and consultant. His life purpose is to inspire and promote greatness. He can be reached at: [email protected] and His website is: www.miltonkamwendo.com.


Share This: