Through my 30 years in international business I have learned that effective leadership is a function of our personal stature, not our positional status. It's not about how much force we can exert with our power and wealth, but about how much influence we wield with our personal authority. Leadership is not a sole focus on profits and process; it's a focus on inspiring others to be innovative, energetic and even heroic in their day-to-day tasks. Great leaders connect with people's essence, ignite their spirits and unlock their genius. Great leaders inspire and instill in their teams a passionate sense of purpose.
With that said, I'd like to answer a few questions about the book that I hope you will find engaging and inspiring. Please do leave your thoughts in the comments below and if you are ready to tap your own greatness, read a sample chapter of the book here.
What is the 30-second elevator summary of Lead by Greatness? Business can provide the finest environment to develop human character; business is a university of greatness. Great leaders cultivate the greatness of the people they lead. They lead with purpose and principle not with fear and foreboding. They have no need to bully others with the power of their status. Instead, they lead people with the authority of their stature; they lead by greatness.
How did you develop the Lead by Greatness philosophy? I was born in South Africa and began my consulting career there. The genesis of the Lead by Greatness philosophy was the work I did alongside South Africa's greatest business leaders who, together with Nelson Mandela and his government, transformed the country from a repressive apartheid regime to a vibrant new democratic economy. I have since moved on to helping global companies with environments of complex diversity build self-driven, high-performing teams in a new global economy. Terms like purpose and greatness are now accepted in business and inextricably linked to a spiritual foundation. Purpose is about so much more than money and greatness is about more than power. When I recognized this powerful connection between business performance and the human spirit, I knew I had stumbled upon a truth that would deliver the kind of exponential growth so many leaders sought.
What are the core principles of Lead By Greatness? I believe there is a direct correlation between a business's bottom line and the human greatness of its leadership. I have found that leaders who demonstrate this correlation lead by their personal purpose and values and share some or all of eight common characteristics - authenticity, destiny, mastery, humility, vulnerability, generosity, awareness and wisdom. They use these character traits to guide their decisions and communications. Leaders who possess these character traits often achieve consistent growth that exceeds their industry norms. These leaders foresee trends, but are not enslaved by them. They can buy when others sell and sell when others buy because they are persuaded by value and opportunity, not by fad or frenzy. Leaders who harness their own greatness recognize talent, inspire it and nurture it. They are guardians of their organizations' futures and build trusting teams and sustainable reputations. They care, they innovate and they deliver.
Why do you think so few people lead this way? Two factors make it hard to lead by our own greatness: Firstly, many people simply fear being great. They miss the opportunity to become the leader they were built to be because they let their fear of inadequacy restrain them. Secondly, instead of learning and changing ourselves when things go wrong, we instinctively turn away from the mirror in the face of adversity or discontent. You see, the world around us is a mirror reflecting to us, sometimes in exaggerated form, our own flaws and faults. People react and respond to the energy we are projecting. We can effect the quickest change in others by checking in with ourselves to make sure that what we are projecting is our best and authentic self. But it's hard to look at that man in the mirror when we don't like what we see.
What do you want people to take away from this book? I want anyone who reads this book to realize that your greatness lies in who you are, not in what you've got. I believe that once you recognize this, people will gravitate toward you, trust you and follow you. You will learn how to inspire greatness in others and how to quickly bring about positive change in the people around you, whether they be employees, bosses, customers and friends and family. You will unlock new reservoirs of human energy and deliver unrivaled growth.