Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Lead by inspiration

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people appreciate your leadership.

Nelson Mandela


Do you lead or follow? Without followers, of course, there will be no leaders. Some have the right attributes - such as vision, confidence, motivation and competence - to make great leaders. Others, meanwhile, are satisfied to take a back seat.

Leaders need to think strategically and to look at the "big picture" with a long-term and inspiring vision. However, they should also be able to manage the processes that will achieve that vision.

That means having good decision-making skills, making good use of capital and manpower resources, and being adept at action planning. For any leader, there will be challenges and obstacles, so good problem-solving skills are essential, as is the ability to turn challenges into opportunities. A positive attitude is also important - a leader with a negative outlook will not be effective.

Do you have good time-management skills? Can you manage your own time, as well as that of the team? A leader should be a team player, providing motivation, guidance and coaching, and someone who can command respect.

Leaders will know how to delegate to the right person to get the job done, and they will be able to communicate with others in a convincing and credible way.

But what happens when the leader leaves? Companies need to be prepared for this scenario and look beyond the leader - which leads to succession planning. Very often businesses rely on the chairman, CEO or founder, and do not put enough emphasis on grooming the next level to ensure a successor is ready.