Melvyn Tan
December 27, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

Leadership Lessons From The Giants

[blockquote source=”Psalm 146:3-5 (NIV)“]Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.[/blockquote] Leadership Giants I […]

[blockquote source=”Psalm 146:3-5 (NIV)“]Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.[/blockquote]

Leadership Giants
I was searching for the key principles of leadership, I was drawn to a few key authors namely; Stephen Covey, John Maxwell, Jim Collins, and more recently Jesus Christ.  I think many of you would find the first three as no surprises. These three authors are undoubtedly top leaders in the leadership category.

Start with the Principles
If you were to ask me how would one approach the literature on leadership; I’d suggest the following. Start with Stephen Covey and the principles behind what constitutes a leader. An important book to read would be Principle-Centered Leadership. In that book, Covey outlined what to me are the fundamental principles one would need to know when it comes to leadership. It is from these principles that I’ve adapted to create the Learn, Live, and Lead approach. It is also through Principle-Centered Leadership that I’ve created the Engaged Mastery (Personal).

Focus on People
Many, if not all, of Maxwell’s books are important resources for leaders. In fact, many people will attest to the fact that one of Maxwell’s most important book is 360 Degree Leader. I cannot agree more. But to select just one book out of Maxwell’s entire collection would be like using only one book in the Bible to guide your spiritual development.  Instead, Maxwell’s strength is his people leadership.  If you’ve ever attended any of his seminars, you’d hardly feel like here’s a leadership guru talking to you. Instead you’d think it’s a friend who cares about you deeply that is talking to you.  Hence, if you look at Maxwell’s work on leadership, it is the people leadership theme that stands out.  One of the books that I’ve always gone back to is his book on Winning with People. And one of his latest book that is a must-read if you consider yourself to be a leader is Be A People Person. It is through the work of Maxwell that shaped my thinking about people leadership, which led to the creation of the Engaged Mastery (People) segment.

Organization beyond You
Finally, if you are entrusted to a leadership position, you’d do well if you lead the organization effectively. But in order for you to build a great organization; you need to be a Level 5 Leader. As Jim Collins proposed, a Level 5 Leader is one that “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical combination of personal humility plus professional will“. Through these principles and strategies, it has shaped the way that I’ve structured the Engaged Mastery (Professional) segment to challenge the executives beyond just their ego-centric self, but more for creating a great workplace.

There is a void
That said, even after synthesizing all these wisdom proposed by the three giants; I still find that there is a void. In the sense that you could carry out all these principles and achieve what you’ve set out to do, but there isn’t that sense of fulfillment. And fulfillment comes not from simply achieving goals and meeting KPIs. Fulfillment comes when you know that all the work that you’ve put in matters at the end of the day. That it will bring a significant impact on the lives of others. It would make a difference and it would make the world a better place.

Do it with Love
And while I do not find it explicitly mentioned by these giants, it is a common theme that runs across their work. And that common theme is what Jesus said that we must do. And that is to love one another. So now I get it. It is not simply just learn, live, and lead but to do it with love.

Prayer
Father I pray that we acknowledge that You are the Alpha and the Omega. You are what makes us complete. Father I pray that we will continue to find the Truth through Your Living Word. In Jesus name, Amen.