From the Ed's desk

Liberating our young leaders

Service Editor, Lindsay King

Attending the amazing Tomorrow’s Leaders Conference at Emperors Palace recently highlighted to me the incredible young leadership talent we have in this country. More than anything else, I was impressed by our young lions’ interest in issues regarding local government.

This was to the extent that the plenary session ‘Creating Leaders for Local Government’ was chock-a-block with curious young minds keen to absorb as much as possible – more than at any other session at the conference. I actually had to open the doors to the venue so that tens of people could at least peep their heads through the door to be included.

Yes, to a certain extent, creating leaders in specific sectors (such as local government) needs some thought outside the broader spectrum, but essentially, besides for industry-specific challenges which leaders need to direct, the basics for creating, promoting and nurturing leaders remain the same. Why? Because leadership principles are timeless and not confined to the boundaries of industries. And these principles apply to all of us, no matter what role we play in our organisations.

Being Youth Month, I ask myself what, besides for helping to get extraordinary things done in organisations, do we need to do to groom our future leaders?

Jim Clemmer, international author and specialist on organisation improvement, self-leadership and leadership, once said: “For what we’ve discovered, and rediscovered, is that leadership isn’t the private reserve of a few charismatic men and women. It’s a process ordinary people use when they’re bringing forth the best from themselves and others. Liberate the leader in everyone, and extraordinary things happen.”

Yes, it’s true: some people in leadership roles are excellent leaders. But way too many are bosses, technocrats, bureaucrats, managers, commanders, chiefs ... the list goes on and on. In the same breath, many people who have no formal leadership role (or grooming, for that matter) are excellent leaders – and in today’s fast-changing world, we all need to be leaders.

Clemmer says to lead is to show the way by going in advance. “To lead is to guide or direct a course of action. To lead is to influence the behaviour or opinion of others. We all need to be leaders, regardless of our formal title or role. This starts with inner self-leadership and moves outward to influence, guide, support and lead others. The process of becoming a leader is the same as the process of becoming a highly effective human being.”

And that, my dear friends, is the most inspiring words I’ve heard in a long time. Leadership development is personal development – it has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else – but the interaction and sharing (of this personal development) will indeed directly influence those we come in contact with every day of our lives. Leadership ultimately shows itself in what we do ‘out there’. But it starts ‘in here’. How can we not agree?

comments powered by Disqus


This edition

Issue 68