Why leaders must learn to think

SUCCESS LIFE: Jonah Nyoni

THINKING is the big game that every leader should engage in. It shapes the future, scales up possibilities and opportunities that any company has. But do leaders really think?

That’s an open-ended question that provokes the core of every leader. The truth is all people, leaders included, do think, but not most of them practise their potential, which is in quality thinking.

It is only that human beings were not given a robotic mind. Human beings have the power of choice.

But how can leaders use their thinking to the benefit of an organisation?

Leaders must have the right questions. Every leader must be inquisitive. Good questions solicit for good and appropriate solutions.

Why are things the way they are in my company? How can that be changed? Who do I need to change? Why do I need to change? When do I need to change?

Agility

Agility is the nimbleness and attitude to learn. Canadian-American motivational public speaker and self-development author Brian Tracy once said: “Your mind is a like a muscle, it grows with exercise.”

When you learn, you expand your mind, ideas innovativeness and repertoire. Your mind can function well when it has been opened by learning.

What is learning? It is the ability to acquire information that increases you capacity, effectiveness, and mental openness.

It’s commonly said, your mind is like a parachute, it functions well when it is open.

Expose and open your mind through personal development, books and quality mental food. The functions of a parachute become known as soon as it is opened.

As long as it stays down, its true purpose is not accomplished. It is as good as non-existent and so are you. Get to your field and work only then can your destiny be fulfilled.

Learning makes adoptability and adaptability much easier. When you are informed, it’s much easier to tackle change.

The parachute adapts to the wind. When the parachute is open, it harnesses the wind energy and manipulates its power. It adapts so that it functions fully.

The winds of change are always blowing and those that don’t want to upgrade, and adapt are soon left behind. Set your sails properly so as to benefit from any change.

American moral and social philosopher Erick Hoffer (1898-1983) once said: “Learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exits”.

Great leaders are not those that know it all, but those that are willing to listen, learn and change.

In Africa, for example, we are in this state because we have leaders that are not willing to learn and change.

I always wonder why in Zimbabwe, for example, we have great minerals, but we can’t add value and beneficiate them? President Emmerson Mnangagwa should be given a clear and reasonable answer on this by Mines minister Winston Chitando.

Entrust

Thinking should not be centred on the leaders only. A great leader entrusts or delegates thinking to others.

People that you work with are creative, thinking beings. What you need to do as a leader is to positively provoke them so that you are given ideas to use. Dictators only want their thoughts to be heard and implemented.

Create a safe space

Great leaders create a safe space for the incubation of ideas, easy access and easy cross-pollination of ideas. Ideas are everything.

The world is controlled by ideas and the best way is to allow those that are led to give birth to ideas without hindrance. It is up to the current leader to embrace new ideas.

Systems thinking

How do we bring every part to work fluidly in a company? Systems thinking is all about involving all ecosystems necessary in the success of the whole organisation.

That synergistic approach to leadership makes all systems work coherently.

Parting Point: When African leaders step back and think, they will realise that power is not meant to suppress and limit people, but to empower others to become leaders as well. We are surrounded by leaders that can’t listen to people anymore. Worse still they think they have the final say. It’s time for the African leader to rise and think. We need to be liberated in our thinking.

Jonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and certified leadership/business trainer. He is the author of Inspiration for Success and Success Within Reach. Contact details: Tel: 0772 581 918. Email: jonah@classicmail.co.za. Twitter@jonahnyoni.

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