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10 things that will keep you in leadership


Requirements for great leadership are changing. A leader must now become an agent of change. A leader must possess soft skills and have emotional intelligence so as to creatively bring all institutional cogs or parts together to fulfil goals.


Moreover, work environments are changing from just being a “job centre” to being a centre of empowerment, improvement and value addition and the leader has to assume a new role of coach. Management guru, Peter Drucker, read into the future when he said that we live in an era of three Cs: accelerated change, overwhelming complexity and tremendous competition.

1. Change

Change is one of those things that most people are not comfortable with. It’s not easy to change jobs or switch positions. It’s like there is something inside us which loves to seat on the laurels. It’s true with the Nokia story; everything looked rosy and glossy, until newer technologies came in. As big as they were, they sat too long on their past successes and forgot change was coming. As a leader, what worked in the past might not work now. Lock around for thing to shift. Look for problems to solve and be a change leader.

2. Challenges

One thing with serious or successful leaders is that when they see a problem they don’t cry and complain. They get to push their thinking capacity and ingenuity to the last stretch. Most people only “go through” problems, but great people have learnt to “grow through” problems. I have seen that most of my success is not because of the pleasure, but the pain I met along the journey of life. That was the pain of repetition, patience, wise hard work, failing and not staying down, shame, jeers and sneers. It’s all painful, but those are the actual things that give an edge to every winning leader.

3. Computation

Computation is moving at breakneck speed. Who would have imagined that you would do almost all banking transactions on your smartphone? Who would have thought that there would be a company called Alibaba.com where you just purchase a thing from any corner of the globe and it be delivered to your doorstep? The future leader has to leverage on the power of computers.

The World Economic Forum says that, in the next five years over, five million jobs will be lost to computation.

What does this mean? Those who do not want to learn will be found clutching to tools that are irrelevant, which clash with new trends. Every leader should think of what might come; the next smart gadget and the next new software. The most trendy way of learning these days is to “learn what’s necessary to learn”, not what’s on offer from an educational institute. Chase seminars and new online courses, especially those that make you acquire specialised skillsets and mindsets.


In my leadership training seminars, I always caution people that if they don’t want to change, they will be eliminated by new entrants. New threats are not people you might be suppressing as your subordinates, but external forces that will leave you jobless.

Jim Rohn once said: “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” If you don’t change, you are removed from the game by change, computation and competition

If you miss out on learning, you automatically miss out on changing. Remember, the advantage you had yesterday will be eradicated by trends or drifts tomorrow. The obvious factor is that if you don’t change you become redundant, incompatible, irrelevant, slow to newer systems, inefficient and unfriendly to the new systems.

5. Conversations

Leaders should keep their ear active and be ready to pick any new signal of change. There are conversations that happen on platforms such as TedX, Forbes magazine, Harvard Business Review, Google conferences; all these are available online for your use. Be attentive to buzz words, talks, and networks. As a leader, it’s essential for you to attend some business and leadership meetings such as symposiums and conferences so that you are in the loop on the influencing thoughts, attitudes, feelings and actions that drive industry. Get into those conversations and be part of them. At times you have to lead some conversations by being a thought leader.

6. Collaborations

Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress and keeping together is success”. Look for synergies that will help you accomplish your goals as a leader. Leaders must know that they can’t win when they are isolated, but they do so when they work with others. People that surround you as a leader do matter.

7. Connectivity

Learn to be in the maze of connectivity. If you are not in that connectivity it means you are out of the flow. The future world will be connected by mega data. Stay connected.

8. Customisation

Leaders should appreciate that the markets we operate in are diverse and have special needs and tastes. That requires flexibility and nimbleness to satisfy a particular customer need. For example, fast foods came into play because people are busy and pressed on time. In addition, for some outlets you don’t need to go to their location, but you can order in the comfort of your home or office. A good example of flexibility is shown by Uber Taxis. This is a transportation network and its customers have an app, called Uber. If you make a request for a taxi via this app, a nearby taxi is alerted of your location and picks you up. Customisation becomes essential because it modifies the way we have been doing things to suit a particular individual or task

9. Creating

Create content and be known for it and that is being a thought leader. Become a leading authority and become a leader, who is being sought after and rewarded. At times you don’t need a corporation to be a leader, but create something and become a brand leader. I learnt about this concept when I published my books. Corporates don’t just call everyone to come and speak for them, but they call experts and one way is by being an author or thought leader. This is true of media interviews. The time my books came out, it was easy to feature in the news because I had distinguished myself from everyone else.

10. Cogitate

Leadership requires serous thinking. Think creatively, critically and carefully. The results we see around us are just a manifestation of a thought that was put into action. Freek Vermeulen in an article in the Harvard Business Review said: “Don’t just accept the situation and business constellation you have arrived at. Leadership is not just doing things, it is about thinking. Make time for it.”

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

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