Thoughts on Leadership

Published on 1st February 2016


“Every leader of people must learn the art of delegation. There are three types of delegation: (1) Nominal delegation: A leader must delegate as a means of grooming the next set of leaders. Because no-one can learn leadership in a classroom, people will become great leaders if they can (a) observe a great leader, or (b) lead-by-doing. So this type of delegation is essential to continuity of the vision; (2) Crisis delegation: A leader must delegate because a situation has arisen that demands his temporary absence from current leadership obligations; and (3) Emergency delegation: A leader must delegate because a crisis has turned into a permanent emergence, e.g. a leader cannot be present due to a prolonged illness, disciplinary action, resignation, termination or death. In whichever type, a leader should be looking for a person (not people in general) who should assume the responsibility. This individual must know they are on stand-by, must be trained to lead before a crisis or an emergency arises, and the leader should be consistent in delegating through this individual (changing people for delegation may be politically correct, but is a poor mode of delegation. It is usually done by insecure leaders. It creates half-baked leaders; it induces jealousies and competitions and breeds controversy in the demise of the leader!) Seamless succession is a mark of true leadership acumen!”

Leadership arsenal

“A leader must have the knowledge to understand the competing options; the wisdom to make right and informed decisions; the courage to dispel criticisms; the flexibility to change; the faith to try new things; the grace to manage pressure; and the confidence to lead.”


“A true leader IDENTIFIES problems in order to SOLVE them. And in solving them, a true leader SEPARATES people from the problem in order to fashion SOLUTION to the problem. Non-leaders identify problems and blame them on the people, because non-leaders THINK of the people as a problem.”


“’Ants don’t have leaders, but they store up food during harvest season.’ In a typical colony of ants there could be millions of nests divided into queen ants, worker ants and warrior ants. The central role of the queen ant is reproduction, not leadership. Ants survive by teamwork – they find food, store food, and invade other nests and fight – all by teamwork. Great leaders always move their organizations towards leaderless systems – a stage where the people have grown to know the system too well and they can literally govern themselves by teamwork. The more people need a leader, the far away the leader is from being a true leader, and the far away those people are from reaching their greatest potential!”


“In leadership, the purpose of the goal is more important than the size of it.”

Ownership of success and failure

“A leader may not be an expert in everything, but they must KNOW what is going on in every department of the organization or obligation. Afterall, a leader owns both the successes and failures of their organization or obligation!”

Leadership dynamics

Leading people in an organization or nation is pretty much like leading sheep and goats. Unlike goats which are exploratory, interactive, engaging and investigative in nature, sheep are more laid back and sometimes just plain ‘sheepish.’ Goats are naturally curious and independent. But they can tend to get into more trouble than sheep, too. Sheep have very strong flocking instinct and become agitated when separated from their posse. Sheep have an overall better resistance to pasture parasites because they have evolved eating close to the ground. But this put them in close contact with roundworms, tapeworms, and etc. Goats, in comparison, eat off the ground and have less contact with parasites on the ground. But goats have a less developed natural ability to resist parasitic infections. The simple fact is that both sheep and goats have issues and leading them involves employing varying styles. Here are four: (1) Some human are like sheep, calm and collected but ‘sheepish’ and vulnerable to risks. (2) Some humans are like goats, engaging, out-going and intelligent, but vulnerable to dangers. (3) Generally, for sheep-like obligation, lead from the front with care, knowledge and understanding. For goat-like obligations, lead from behind but still with care, knowledge and understanding. (4) For both sheep-like and goat-like behaviours, there are four responsibilities you have as a leader: (a) feed them; (b) teach them; (c) restore or discipline them; (d) protect them.”

Category of followers

“In any leadership arrangement, the people are divided into four categories of followers: sheep; goats; cattle/bulls; and horses. With sheep, the leader leads from the front – trailblazing and guiding the way through example and care. With cattle or bulls, the leader leads from the back – because going in front jeopardises the leader’s own wellbeing. He may be trampled upon and killed. With horses, the leader mounts them and leads from the vertical – because the leader and the horse are of similar strength and wit.

Some people are exactly like sheep (good mannered, easy to guide and direct and generally weak-willed individuals) these the leader must recognise and lead from the front; they will never stub you in the back. Goat-like followers are savvy, subtle, agile, flexible but vulnerable and left to themselves, can be self-destructed and destructive. These lead from the back because you need to see where they are going and guide and direct appropriately. These will not deliberately stub you although they may be a danger to themselves. And they may deserve a weep of discipline from time to time. Cattle or bulls are strong and usually self-willed. They cannot be led from the front or they will trample over the leader and kill his vision. They can be very critical but they genuinely have the power to destroy the leader. So you lead them from the back and sides – constantly monitoring their movements and activities because they can be very, very dangerous and destructive if left to themselves.

Like goats, they deserve a weep of discipline from time to time. Finally horses – these are strong,intelligent but very trusted, obedient and dependable. Such kind of followers you lead vertically because they are equal to the leader in every respect. They need vertical guidance and measured discipline in order to keep them focused and effective. Horse followers can break new grounds and win battles together with the leader. Over 90% of human behaviour is sheep-like!”

Ultimate goal of leadership

“A leader is a teacher, first and foremost. In sports they may be called a coach or instructor or trainer; in education, a professor or instructor; in military, a general or commander; in the home, a parent; in the church, a pastor or elder or deacon; in politics, a mayor or premier or governor or prime minister or president or king or queen; in martial arts, a master or instructor; and etc. A teacher’s ultimate aim is to get students become teachers, so a leader’s ultimate aim is not to make followers, but to lead followers into becoming leaders!”

By Charles Mwewa

Author of The Seven Laws of Influence.

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