Exploring Leadership

Great leadership comes down to only two rules from my recent conference review of TEDx speaker Peter Anderton who elaborated on great leadership. What does it entail? How to be a great leader?

By Emile Fakhoury
Great leadership is more than just a fancy term. It comes with two significant rules and some common principles.

Rule #1: It’s not about you; it’s about the people

You become a leader only when you help develop another leader. A good leader will inspire people to have confidence in themselves.

From John Maxwell, each level forms a deeper level of commitment. The key is that it’s about choice – theirs, not yours. People follow because:

1-They have to; this is the authority leader or ‘boss.’ We are obliged to follow, or we lose our jobs and incomes. This kind of leader may last for an extended period, but the team will execute their jobs only because of the power and authority with almost no motivation or innovation.

2. They Like you; the team like and admires their leader who is supportive of their career and helped shape it, they work with enthusiasm and passion, and they would forget all pain and stress to achieve results.

3. They know you can deliver; you have been a champion leader and have shown them the road and how to overcome the challenges and delivery. This is the perfect scenario that a leader can present to the team.

4. You help them grow; you support their career growth and don’t imprison them in their role to satisfy your business needs; this is the role of the leader to make another leader. You help and guide their growth and accept the idea of letting them leave you, but this is the cycle of growth, losing for some, gaining for others, embracing succession planning, and growing the organization.

5. Of who you are and what you represent; this is the deepest level of outstanding leadership and applies to both leaders in the organization and communities; the team believes in you and follows you for who you are and what you represent.

Rule #2: It’s only about you

We have seen leadership evolute throughout history, and it is not about picking the best school of thought but more about adapting the best of each school to help grow your organization, your team, and yourself.

  • 6th  Century BC, Lao Tzu – Mastering others is strength; Mastering yourself is true power.

The leader is best when people believe the leader barely exists; that way, when the worker’s job is done, people think they have achieved it themselves.

  • 1st Century, JESUS – Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Leadership becomes about equality and fairness between leader and followers.

  • 16th Century, Machiavelli – taught great insights about the perils of managing change; they also said it’s all about the leader and the leader must maintain power at all costs.

The leaders should maintain power by force or deceit if needed.

  • 19th Century, Thomas Carlyle – leaders are born, not made. If you have it, great things happen; if you don’t, then tough. You are either a leader or a follower, a manager, or a worker

Abraham Lincoln. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.

  • 20th Century – Frederick Taylor – no longer about helping people be the best, just optimizing their work; this has resulted in a massive gap between managers and workers.

Nelson Mandala. I couldn’t change others until I changed myself.

  • Today - Leadership isn’t about you or the position; it’s about everyone who can make a difference. This is the basis of rule number one - It’s not about you; it’s about the people

A true leader looks at themselves and starts acting to deliver authentically. This is the basis of rule number two - it’s only about you.

There is no such thing as a perfect leader; the next best thing is a leader who can combine rule number one and two.

As we live in a complex, fast-moving world, mastering these two simple rules will help you lead better and grow your team, self, and organization. It is time to start applying these two rules.


Emile Fakhoury

Corporate Expert Writer, Business Professional in Energy/Water/Oil/Gas, Specialist in Coaching/Training, Association of Project Management UK Fellow Member. The professional who believes that adaptation to various social or corporate environments is the only way to survive and strive. Master the rules of the game in order to reach the top and change the rules.
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