Leadership reloaded – taking stock

“At some point in your life, you will face a situation where you are in a leadership position and dozens – maybe thousands or millions – look to you to lead. When that occurs, you won’t feel ready. But you have to lead anyway,” Oliver Van DeMille in A Thomas Jefferson Education.

Have you encountered a situation that left you feeling incapacitated? Like a deer caught in the headlights? You feel weak, scared, and lost? Many in leadership face this dilemma, especially when no solution or fix is at hand. You are coasting thinking all is well. Then wham! Shortly, you are sailing through the air full of dread of the landing. As the flying is in a vessel designed to be firmly grounded, a car.

If your leadership style ‘hands-off’, you guide your followers on what is required of them. It then becomes incumbent on them to get work done. You are only available if they encounter any challenges that require further guidance. The flipside is the ‘hands-on’ style, the micro-manager. Constantly, you look over your followers’ shoulders fearing they might deviate from your ‘perfect way’.

However, only a few are coming into the situation room.  Plans are not deployed to the letter and output falls behind schedule. They are frustrated and you are livid.

Lesson 1: It is time to shift gears, time to jettison the past. A change is required of your leadership. While some of your followers are happily executing their roles with minimum supervision, others will need very close monitoring. Leaders need to constantly re-calibrate their style to accommodate the prevailing environment.

Lesson 2: A crisis can get the leader in a whole lot of self-doubt. You may feel lonely and even have no one to turn to for help or advise. You will need to find a few people who become your ‘bouncing wall’. These are your accountability partners that help you check on your progress or lack thereof. They provide solid advise and, when needed, loving rebuke. If you are to succeed as a leader, you need to establish your personal ‘Board of Directors’.  Remember, it can be very lonely as a leader, and you need all the credible support you can find.

Lesson 3: Remember that leadership mostly operates like a bolt-action rifle. Bolt-action firearms are very popular for hunting as they are balanced, strong, rugged, reliable and accurate. Likewise, the leadership process is measured, targeted and carefully thought through. “Concentrate your energy, thoughts and capital exclusively upon the business in which you are engaged in,” Andrew Carnegie notes. When hunting, your prey keeps on shifting its position. It is incumbent on you to change your approach to be successful in leading.

Lesson 4: Finally, leadership is a journey, not the destination. Remember to invest in knowledge acquisition. A true leader maintains a ravenous hunger to learn, as this is the only way to ensure sustainable growth. Your followers will notice this and most probably embrace it too.


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  1. #1 by David Snape (@davesnape) on September 24, 2012 - 8:56 pm

    This is extremely powerful – it is true. I have experienced being thrust into a leadership position with the added drama of an active opposition and an ineffective team.

    I didn’t have the skill at the time to make it work and the end results were disastrous. You need allies for sure!

    • #2 by KimunyaMugo on September 25, 2012 - 8:43 am

      David, great point you raise here. I have decided to view ‘active opposition’ as potential energy that propels me to great outcomes. This becomes a spring board, how and where I land thus becomes my prerogative. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  2. #3 by you gotta read this blog on July 1, 2012 - 3:04 am

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    • #4 by KimunyaMugo on July 16, 2012 - 9:14 am

      Great to have your company! This is a template I got from wordpress.com, please feel free to pass on the link to others. Thank you for your support…

  3. #5 by pink chair on June 29, 2012 - 10:43 am

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  4. #7 by Lyn Boyer on June 23, 2012 - 11:30 pm

    Kimunya, I enjoyed reading your ideas–as always. You have very aptly described leadership in its most challenging forms, and you have some insightful ideas on how to deal with the challenges.

    • #8 by KimunyaMugo on June 24, 2012 - 9:21 am

      Lyn, thank you. It is a new journey everyday, with great people like you to share with.

  5. #9 by David Hain on June 9, 2012 - 10:48 am

    Love the blog Kimunya, particularly lesson 4. Privileged to be sharing some of the journey with you and friends!

    Warm wishes


    • #10 by KimunyaMugo on June 10, 2012 - 5:26 pm

      David, I am honored to have great people with me too 🙂

  6. #11 by sarah on June 7, 2012 - 5:34 pm

    Nice piece Kimunya. Lesson 4 should be hammered down all the time. Sarah

    • #12 by KimunyaMugo on June 7, 2012 - 6:25 pm

      True Sarah, hammered down with lots of love and dedication.

  7. #13 by Eric on June 7, 2012 - 2:14 pm

    Lesson 3. is on point especially for me today. My day (morning) has been harsh. Taking time to read this article has refreshed me. Thanks Kimunya.

    • #14 by KimunyaMugo on June 7, 2012 - 2:42 pm

      Eric, thank you for taking time to read and that you found some refreshment. All the best in your leadership. Together we grow.

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