“Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits” is a revolutionary book written by Robert Townsend published in 1970. This book was on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list for 28 weeks.

In the book he tells tactics to winning the competitive race by putting people first and how to obliterate bureaucracies. The leader who leads effectively by putting people first is usually an assured individual who is emotionally intelligent and have mastered self-management.

The point is this: even though leadership has to do with serving others, when one learns self-leadership; it is revolutionary.

Many only see leadership as presiding over a group of people: staff, masses, crowds, nations and so on. Furthermore, I have met many leaders that have the proclivity to blame the people they lead when goals are not achieved.

In my leadership pursuits, I have learnt that dealing with your vulnerabilities, accepting weakness and developing one’s strengths empowers a leader to lead with greater empathy. This leader is often more respected by those he/she leads.

Why would others want to follow you if you are unable to leader yourself? Pondering this question, lead me to coin a mnemonic that speaks to how a leader looks inside for the answers, will and energies to lead those in their sphere of influence.

Effective leadership is about Y.O.U! A true leader yearns for a deeper purpose, always seeks opportunities for learning and advancement and capitalizes on their unique talents.

  1. Yearnings

A feverish yearning to design and lead a purposeful life is usually where leadership begins. When one becomes laser sharp focused on where they are headed and zestfully stride toward that end daily, it is not difficult to galvanize an army to follow.

When you follow your dreams and fulfil your purpose it allows you to make positive impact as you contribute to the development of others in the process.

Isn’t it amazing that commitment to identify and walk in your purpose serves the world?

  1. Opportunities

A great leader is always looking for opportunities for continuous learning.

Oh how important this is in an ever-changing world!

The more we learn and grow as leaders, the more we have to offer to our followers, the better we are able to train and develop other leaders from amongst those we lead and the higher the propensity to offer servant leadership.

In order or a mother to provide dinner for her family, she has to garner the provisions to prepare from some source. Then she works to put it together after which she shares with her family. By the way, she usually eats last.

Similarly, in combat, officers eat last. That is a simple anecdote that implies that seeking to advance self allows you to provide for those you lead. It is also a lesson that encourage leaders to lead their teams as unique people and not administer to them as personnel. This means appreciating people’s uniqueness and capitalizing on their talents to grow the organization while attaining personal growth.

  1. Uniqueness

To truly lead from within one must have an understanding of one’s own uniqueness.

This helps in appreciating and handling diversity amongst the people you lead. When you learn how to leverage your strengths, you can compensate for your weaknesses. Additionally, you will have a greater appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of those you lead and will know how to structure your team to get the best out of everyone.

There is another plus: you will understand the unique contribution you make to your team’s development. This confidence should not inspire conceitedness or arrogance but provide the energies to continuously serve well.

I have grown as a leader in two ways:

  1. As I discovered my purpose, I was willing to face up to eviscerating critique to become an improved version on me.
  2. Many saw the capabilities in me that I did not see and I believed them and grew into it. So in my case intrinsic motivation was fuelled by those around. Funny enough, I ended up leading many of those who were participants in identifying and nurturing my leadership skills. So I guess for me, leadership was both inside out and outside in.

So, final lesson in a sentence: Never underestimate how the people you let can support in moulding you into a better leader.

Tishauna Mullings is a master personal development trainer and Founder of NexxStepp Personal Development Services and Inspirational Products. She was Governor-General Award Recipient for the parish of St. Thomas 2015, Northern Caribbean University (NCU) graduating class valedictorian of 2012, National Farm Queen 2014 and delegate for Barack Obama’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative 2016.


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