When leadership is about people

Jonah Nyoni

When leaders stop thinking creatively, life tends to lose its taste and lustre. Look around, things are constantly changing. That change is not only caused by the natural causes such as seasonal changes, but other people like you and me just decided to think creatively and correctly. We are paid more for thinking, than working hard.


Great leaders have a way of adding that special touch or aura to life. They do things differently, but most importantly they think! I have worked with different leaders and managers who are afraid to think “outside the box”. This also depends on who they are working for. Leaders should also cultivate a conducive atmosphere for the team member to think creatively. Companies and a lot more different institutes must grow and one of those ways to make them grow is by being creative in thinking.

Understand yourself first

Self-awareness is critical for all of us. It identifies your strengths and weakness. The common tool for making an assessment of yourself is called the Myers Briggs type Inventory (MBTI). According to the CCP The Myers Briggs Company, “The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment has helped millions of people worldwide gain insights about themselves and how they interact with others—and improve how they communicate, learn, and work. It provides a powerful framework for building better relationships, driving positive change, harnessing innovation, and achieving excellence”

There are a number of tools to explore your competencies and gives your insight about yourself and how to better understand yourself.

Know your power drive!

The assessment will give you better clues on your beliefs and perspectives. For example, there are some people who can work independently, whilst others work best with teams. As soon as you identify your area of strength you are able to know where to capitalize and the areas you need help.

Master your thoughts

Now that you know yourself through personal assessment you can define yourself as a leader. Every individual has some biases and beliefs. These include your thoughts, actions, reactions, opinions, emotions, attitudes. Generally, we all see life from deferent lenses and if we master those things we won’t be stuck in small cocoons. You are a sum total of your thoughts. That makes you know how to win as a leader. These also help you to know whether you are open-mined or closed mined. That affects how you receive or see change. Are you able to adapt and adopt new changes and challenges? Having mastered your mind you can improve your thoughts (as described in the next law).

Master the law of learning agility

In my forth coming book, Transformative Leadership I write: “The times are turbulent, treacherous, tough, trying and taunting to those who don’t want to adopt and adapt. The leader has to be willing to quickly adopt new tools, techniques that are relevant in solving complex problems, in confronting new hurdles, and facing new challenges of our times. The leader has to constantly and continually be developing, growing, and using emerging tools.”

Cashman (2013) in the Forbes Magazine says: “Learning Agility is a key to unlocking our adaptation proficiency. It is ‘knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.’ Research shows that Learning Agility is a reliable indicator of leadership potential because learning agile people “excel at absorbing information from their experiences and then extrapolating from those to navigate unfamiliar situations”. Learning agility is a complex set of skills that allows us to learn something in one situation and apply it in a completely different situation. It is about gathering patterns from one context and then using those patterns in a completely new context. In short, Learning agility is the ability to learn, adapt, and apply ourselves in constantly morphing conditions.”

Tim Casasola, (2016) in an article The Most Important Trait Leaders Need For the 21st Century, says that to have the learning agility, you are:

“Innovative: You aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo.

Performing: You stay calm in the face of difficulty.

Reflective: You take time to reflect on your experiences.

Risking: You intentionally put yourself in challenging situations.

Open-minded: You resist the temptation to be defensive and listen.”

Master your Mistakes

“If you make a mistake, own it and move quickly to fix it.” Tooey Courtemanch. As you read this article you might be thinking of the past. You remember that thing that embarrassed you in the presence of your colleagues? Do you know that silly thing that you would never want anyone to find out? Some leaders stay in those past mistakes, and miss out on enjoying the current moment, thereby crippling the future. I have since realised that when your mind is tortured by past experiences, it stops thinking clearly, creatively and properly. It has been said that mistakes are part of the tuition we pay in this game of success. Its time to think and win as a leader

Parting point: Thought leadership is a buzzword in business. Thought leaders of any organisation or as individual entrepreneurs are more successful. When you are thought leader you become recognised as an authority that is sought after and greatly rewarded. What makes a thought leader? One of the things is to think creatively and be known for your thoughts that are being sold as services or products. When you are a thought leader, you create a brand that sets you apart. Think and go to the top!

Jonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and leadership trainer. He is the author of Inspiration for Success and Success Within Reach.

Email: jonah@classicmail.co.za. Twitter @jonahnyoni