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Leadership Self-Development Journey
“You are today where your thoughts have brought you.
You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
- James Allen
PERSEVERANCE: Leadership disappears when we give up and emerges when we choose to persevere when others would have given up.
LIFE-BALANCE/RESILIENCE: To sustain his energy and ability to focus, and to set a credible example, a leader needs to have good balance between the different areas of his life and model resilience.
VISIONARY THINKING: The mental picture of a desired destination, big or small, sparks focused activities and worthwhile endeavours, which is why leaders' first task is to imagine the ideal future.
HONESTY/INTEGRITY: The leader is credible and ethical to the extent that his beliefs, values, attitude and behaviour forms an integrated whole.
SELF-CONFIDENCE: To lead requires the confidence to take the first step and have others follow you.
AUTHENTICITY: A leader cannot help others unless he shares himself openly and honestly.
INSPIRING HOPE: Nothing is as damaging to an organisation as the negative attitudes of its people. It is the leader's uppermost responsibility to inspire hope and create a positive climate.
ORGANISATIONAL AWARENESS: Sufficient awareness of different aspects of the organisation, such as the reason for its existence, the history, structure and culture, enables the leader to align himself and his team effectively.
ADAPTABILITY: Effective leadership is more a consequence of the leader's ability to adapt well to changes than a consequence of his knowledge or experience.
SELF-REGARD: Positive self-regard is necessary for a leader in order to accept criticism, learn from it and continue leading with confidence.
TECHNOLOGY AWARENESS: Understanding the potential positive and negative effects of technology in the organisation enables the leader to balance human interests with efficiency.
CULTURAL AWARENESS: In an age of globalisation and culturally diverse workplaces, sensitivity for differences is critical to the leader's success in mobilising people as a community.
SELF-DISCIPLINE: The leader's self-discipline sets the standard and example for others without which consistent performance is not possible.
COMMUNICATION: The leader's ability and commitment to communicate with clarity and appropriateness is essential to his leadership effectiveness.
BUILDING TEAM: It is in the development and performance of the team that the leader's effectiveness can be seen.
CREATIVITY/INNOVATION: Since leaders focus on potential and imagine the future to be different, they demonstrate and encourage innovative and creative thinking.
BEING SERVANT: By choosing to serve and not boss the team, the leader builds them up and collectively they grow to become better leaders in service of the organisation.
SELF-MOTIVATION: The leader motivates himself with his personal vision, passion, potential and moral convictions.
LEADERSHIP STYLE: Different situations require different leadership styles to be effective. Good leaders are flexible and versatile in their style.
CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE: Only by making good heart and mind connections with people can the leader hope to influence them to co-operate enthusiastically.
STRATEGIC THINKING: With the vision or goal in mind, leaders accept responsibility for the most effective way to achieve the vision or goal.
PASSION: The leader does not only have to have a strong sense of responsibility, but passion for the cause.
BUILDING TRUST: By being honest, open and consistent and by showing the willingness to trust the team, the leader lays a strong team foundation for the good, but especially bad times.
BUILDING SUPPORT: A leader must be able to build support for his ideas and direction or else fail as a leader.
DECISION MAKING: With firm and apt individual decision making together with skilful facilitation of team decisions the leader ensures momentum and backing for the direction taken.
SELF-AWARENESS: Self-awareness opens the door to effective communication and the leader's ability to relate to others.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS: Leadership is by definition action in the context of relationships. To ignore relationships contradicts leadership whereas building them enhances teamwork.
EMPOWER: The more empowered and free people feel, the more they give to the cause. Rather than trying to control, leaders show trust in people's inherent capabilities.
CHARACTER: Leadership involves many tests of courage, resilience and morality which make strong character indispensable.
RECOGNITION: Leaders recognise people privately and publicly out of real appreciation for their contributions as well as personal qualities.
TREND/SYSTEMS AWARENESS: A big-picture view to spot trends early on and an understanding of the influences of systems and their relationships is needed for the strategic direction that the leader must give.
SELF-INITIATIVE: To be a leader is to take the initiative to make a positive difference.

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Trend/systems awareness
Organisational awareness
Visionary thinking
Strategic thinking
Cultural awareness
Technology awareness


Connecting with people
Building relationships
Being servant
Building support
Building team
Building trust
Leadership style
Decision making
Inspiring hope



Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm

 Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic.

Dale Carnegie

There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment … It gives warmth and good feeling to all your personal relationships.

Norman Vincent Peale

 It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes life worth living.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

How much enthusiasm do you have for what you are doing at work today? This week, month and year? Enthusiasm, I believe, is a yardstick for the passion we have for what we do. It is difficult to believe a person who doesn’t show any enthusiasm when he tells you he is passionate about his work. We give so much more attention to anything that is authentically conveyed with enthusiasm. We are so much more disbelieving and untouched by any message that is communicated with indifference.

We may ask the question: are some people born with enthusiasm and others not? Is it a personality trait? I don’t believe so. If you look for it you will find enthusiasm in all kinds of people, from all walks of life and in all professions - extroverts and introverts, young and old, farmers and hunters. Furthermore, in the same people you will find times when they are not as energetic and enthusiastic. An enthusiastic person is someone whom we perceive to be mostly enthusiastic - not always and in all situations. 

Enthusiasm, however, is not a mood that depends on how a person feels when getting up in the morning. I guess it is influenced by our mood though and that an enthusiastic person is less so when he hears disappointing or bad news. However, I think it is more a habit and even discipline to work on than merely a moment of inspiration or good feeling that comes and goes. Dedication and enthusiasm goes hand in hand. Enthusiasm that is contagious is enthusiasm in thedoingof something (even if it is appreciating something) or at least the anticipation of something that will get done. Enthusiasm is not passive, it is energetic, focused and positive.

Dale Carnegie said a wise word when he said: If you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic. It is in our interactions with others when enthusiasm is visible and becomes a positive influence. To work on your own levels of enthusiasm you therefor need to consciously choose to be enthusiastic in you interactions with people. That is listening with interest, responding warmly and positively and follow through on agreements and undertakings. 

Choosing to act enthusiastic will be choosing to say certain things and not say others. Do you see enthusiasm in someone who says the following:

‘Don’t ask me. I’m just doing a job here.’

‘That will never work.’

‘Do as you please. I don’t care.’

‘Sorry, that’s the rules.’

‘Let them sort it out.’

And then someone who says:

‘Let us explore the possibilities.’

‘Let me know how I can support you.’

‘I’m looking forward to see your progress.’

‘I believe we can make a difference.’

‘Let’s do it.’

Enthusiasm is something to work on by making conscious choices about our attitude and the positive or negative mood we communicate. The power of the choice for enthusiastic responses is that it change the climate we work in and comes back to us as something positive, one way or another.

- Gerhard van Rensburg

See other writings by Gerhard


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