News Article

7 December 2007

The "Value the Person" Keys to Leadership Success.

Two things struck me today as I sat in an airport waiting for a plane. The first was that I have had the privilege over the years of working with some very successful and knowledgeable leaders who have demonstrated by their lives that they have the keys to being a successful leader.

The second thing that struck me was that I know lots of business managers who are always asking me for tools, tips and techniques, which will help them become a more successful leader. Consequently, I decided to attempt to summarise what I have learned from just four friends, who are very successful leaders, into a few basic leadership principles that others might learn from too.

These friends have given me rich insights into how managers can lead those around them so that they get to view their work as a calling instead of a mere job. They have shown me how leaders can infuse work with meaning and how to energize and engage people. This article illustrates their approach to management that is at once timeless, challenging and unique.

But let me firstly tell you a little about my four friends. My first friend is one of the most respected professors in the UK academic / business world; the second is one the most successful business leaders in the UK that I have had the privilege of a long business relationship with; the third is an astute American business leader who runs his successful financial services business on unique principles; the fourth is an American who came to the US from Pakistan when he was merely 18 years old and has some of the strongest leadership traits I have ever assessed in anyone.

Over the years I have observed these friends practice their proven management principles that are ancient in origin but which are nevertheless very applicable in today’s fast-paced world, in their organisations, their families and their communities.

The Four Principles
The four principles that underpin their approach that leads to great leadership are:

1. People are unique - so great leaders get to know those they lead one at a time in order to maximize their contribution

2. The success of any organisation is directly proportionate to the number of leaders in the organization - so great leaders are evangelical in their desire to create more and more leaders in their organizations

3. People will only give of their best when they feel valued - so great leaders create a special kind of work environment that nurtures individuals

4. Character makes the biggest difference – although everyone is born with talent, it’s those who have developed character who make the biggest difference in sustaining great performance, so great leaders ensure that they are a good role model, in terms of acting honorably, with integrity and with compassion, and create consistent organizational norms.

A Word of Warning…

But, before we explore these four principles a word of warning….their approach to leadership carries a high price tag because it takes time, commitment, personal energy and focus. In other words they have to want to serve the people they lead!

Many leaders I know refuse to pay the price, because the value they put on their people is too low. They are hireling leaders who attend to their people only because they get paid to do so and whose hearts aren’t in it.

Now for the principles that could revolutionalise your leadership and your life…

Click here to see the principles ».