Lessons in leadership: An eight-year journey

Benjamin Zander

Happy Birthday!

Simply Communicate is 8 years old today.

Are there any lessons learned that I can share with those starting out? Or for those of us are starting again and looking for new pathways after the Covid-19 meltdown.

When Simply Communicate was born, it was about making a name, getting known. Social Media keeps asking: ‘Do people know you? How many followers do you have?’ And the Pietermaritzburg & Midlands Chamber of Business, especially our dear friend, the late Lorna Jones, helped me enormously.

But Ralph Nader said that the role of a leader is to produce more leaders not more followers. And a quote I have in my study asks, ‘How can I make it easy for you to do great work?’

It takes a mind shift to accept that my success does not depend on how many followers I have, but how many leaders I create. Because if I create followers, that is all I have, but if I create leaders they will bring all their followers, too.

Benjamin Zander came to the realisation after 25 years as a conductor that the conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He depends for his power on his ability to make others powerful. And it changed his life. He said in a Ted Talk that if people are engaged with you their eyes will shine. If they are not engaged, you have to ask yourself, who am I being that their eyes are not shining.

Whether we are HR consultants or electricians, accountants or carpenters, if we are to thrive, it will be less about who we are or what we do and more about what we can offer — how we can make it easy for others to do great work; how we can enable their eyes to shine.

How are you making eyes shine? What will you do this week to encourage a new leader.

How can I help you with your leadership, people-management and HR challenges?


Ian Webster

From Methodist minister to Customer Relations manager in a computer bureau to HR Manager in a newspaper printing and publishing company. Now focussing on training and developing people, people-management consulting and writing and editing.

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