Let’s build leaders

The most important resource or asset in an organisation are people.

ONE of the greatest mandates of a leader is to develop people into leaders.

In other terms, their mandate is to empower others to make themselves unnecessary in an institute. This will be so because they are effective in growing and grooming other people to be leaders. Leadership development is essential in any organisation. The more the leaders we have, the better our production and results.

Followers are human beings like everyone else and they can be developed into leaders. They need care, tutelage, encouragement and development. The moment followers know that you care for them it becomes easy for a leader to help them develop into leaders. People feel it when they are underused, abused and overused even though you do not express it.

It is easy for people to excel when they know that they have 100% of your support as a leader. It has been said, people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. People are beings with infinite potential which must be creatively challenged and channelled. People will amaze when they devise solutions to the challenge at hand. When you make people contribute with their ideas, creativity, talents and innovativeness, you make them feel important and it becomes easy for them to do more, even in your absence.

The most important resource or asset in an organisation are people. We need to grow people knowing that the world is changing at breakneck speed. This change will not stop for anyone. Organisations need to learn this to achieve peak performances and increased productions. Any company which does not invest in its people, is short-changing its effective functions, thereby crippling its future.

Most companies would rather acquire new equipment for better effective and fast production, than improve or grow employees into leaders.  Some have their buildings extended, others even gone to the extent of throwing expensive end-of-year-parties just to worsen the ignorance of employees into drunken dummies.

Permit people to think

People who are making great change are the ones who think and innovate. People have so much potential and as leaders we should teach and encourage them to let it out. The mind and the inborn creativity works like a muscle, it grows with exercise. To make other people know that they can be leaders, make them contribute by means of ideas. This cultivates an atmosphere of creativity, innovativeness and inventiveness. As a leader, one has an obligation to teach people how to do things, but that is not the end of the game. If we want to grow people who think and are leaders, in most cases we have to show them the purpose and they will amaze you as they pave a path to getting there.

People excel in their purpose

Help people find what they love to do. As the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs once said at the Stanford University in 2005: “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  This motivates a person to dream more, do more and be more. Yes, one needs to set high standards in the execution of duties, but give people the responsibility and liberty to do their work without interfering, unless it is for the purposes of guidance. The major role of a leader is to convince followers to answer the “why” question and then let them work on the “what” and the “how” part of it.

Lead from the heart

Great leaders lead with their hearts. They mentor, motivate and map out how others can possibly get to the top. Max De Pree, in an interview contained in the book Leader to leader, says “…the primary purpose of power is not to use it, but to share it”. In olden days leaders used to use a mace (a rod or stick) to scare a servant into doing a task, but that is no longer the case. Now that word stands for mentor, advice, coach and encourage. You cannot do all those things using force, it takes the heart. Mentoring is about showing and sharing how to get the best results. Advice is about counselling a person why we want those results. Coaching is about instilling the right attitude to get the results. Then finally, we encourage people not to throw in the towel when the process gets tough.


Dogma has little place in leadership. The system of belief as a leader should permit adjustments. These adjustments are at times brought by people who we simply take as employees. Be flexible to receive advice even from a person who has a lower rank. Secondly, be flexible enough to anticipate change.

Invest in people

Every future-minded corporate, government institute, religious ministry or any non-governmental organisation should invest in its people. There must be in-house training programmes. Employees should attend leadership seminars or be involved in professional leadership fellowships. I have spoken to companies that would go out of their way to order books on leadership that suit their special needs.

As we look into the future, what we need are transformational leaders. We do not want leaders with power, but who empower others.  There are more reasons why we should never stifle people to get better in life. One life’s principle I have learnt over years is that the more I teach things to others, the better I become as a teacher and more importantly as a leader. Leadership is never about power, position or being on the podium, it is about benefiting other people, increasing talent density and making a difference.


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