LET’S take a quick glance at how leadership is defined by some experts:
• Peter Drucker said that the only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.
• Warren Bennis defines leadership as the capacity to translate vision into reality.
• Bill Gates mentioned that as we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.
• John Maxwell believes that leadership is influence — nothing more, nothing less.
Terry Fox was just 18 when he was struck with cancer. He noticed that there were many children like him who suffered from cancer.
Terry had a vision that more could be done on cancer research. As a teenager, he had no power, no position and no money. However, he felt a deep desire to make his vision of greater support for cancer research a reality.
He had no special skills but he knew how to run. Terry started training for a marathon and later set his heart on running across Canada to raise funds for cancer research.
He managed to gain support from a small group of friends and family members. Over time, his vision and his plan to run across Canada gained widespread support. He died at the age of 23, not long after embarking on his vision.
He had a glimpse of that reality and was able to lead himself. Thus, he started a movement that has endured for more than 33 years and is still going strong.
Since its inception, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $500 million for cancer research and the Terry Fox Run is organised in more than 25 countries.
Leading ourselves requires us to examine our fundamental make-up. What motivates us? How do we make decisions? What is our mental modus operandi? If we cannot get these fundamentals right, we may not find long-lasting success as leaders.
This is especially true in the new operating environment where there is a palpable increase in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity — which call even more for a clear vision and stable leadership.
The Multiple Intelligences Developmental Assessment Scales is a tool used by major United States government agencies to help people know how they think.
Click Colours is a system developed in Australia to help people know how they tend to think and why some people work better with them or why others just drive them crazy.
These are just some tools to help us better understand ourselves and others. We need to realise that any significant and lasting change must start within us. This is the first step towards great leadership.
As the saying goes: “In times of adversity, use a mirror. For in it, you will see both the cause and the solution.”
Article by Dr Henry Toi, who was trained and mentored by Professor Tony Buzan, Professor Arthur Costa, Dr Marilee Adams and Dr Branton Shearer in the field of brain development, thinking and multiple intelligences. An author of several books, he also writes regularly for corporate magazines and has worked with companies across the Asia-Pacific region.