When I was asked to write an article about leadership, I drew a blank. But sitting in my car waiting for the rain to reduce I was selectively browsing through other people’s statuses on WhatsApp. One of my must-view statuses is that for Sayed Irfan, a CEO coach and he is also the current Group Chief Financial Officer for Trade Kings Group – You may follow him on LinkedIn to learn more. It is a must-view because he posts about leadership. His early morning post today lit up like a light bulb in my soul “Leadership is not about being the best but about making others better”. This has been true in my over 33 years of a banking career which has been spent mostly in a leadership role at varying levels. I have found that I get more joy in seeing the people I lead succeed and become better. This is the best way to grow as an individual.
Growing up watching Kung Fu movies, the storyline was kind of predictable yet enjoyable all the same. It would almost always involve a naive student and an old master with a long narrow white beard. The student would shout “Master, teach me!” The story would unfold into the student becoming better than the master. We should therefore grow into Masters that want their students to become better than them. Do not fear that the people you lead will take over from you, life always gives us opportunities the more we pour out ourselves for others. This has been true in my career. If you cling your fist tightly closed, holding on to what you have, you miss the opportunity to open your palm and be ready to receive.
In closing let me share a few quotes about leadership in line with Sayed Irfan’s quote above:
“As a leader…your principal job is to create an operating environment where others can do great things.”
— Richard Teerlink
“Leadership is the creation of an environment in which others are able to self-actualize in the process of completing the job.”
— John Mellecker
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
— John Quincy Adams
“The greatness of a leader is measured by the achievements of the led. This is the ultimate test of his effectiveness.”
— Gen. Omar Bradley
“It takes leaders to grow other leaders.”
— Ray Blunt
“Our work is our most important resource to develop our people.”
— Jim Trinka and Les Wallace
“You cannot be effective if those who work for you are not. So building their effectiveness ought to be a priority.”
— Richard N. Haass
“You may be the boss, but you’re only as good as the people who work for you.”
— Rear Admiral William Leahy
“All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.”
— Sir Walter Scott
“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”
— Harvey S. Firestone
“No executive has ever suffered because his subordinates were strong and effective.”
— Peter Drucker
“All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.”
— Albert Einstein
The best thing about giving of ourselves is that what we get is always better than what we give. The reaction is greater than the action.
–Orison Swett Marden
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about others.
You are not a true success unless you are helping others be successful.
A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.