I love singing off the same hymn sheet as others in my industry. Regular readers know that I believe in synchronicity. I did, however, question it when I tried to make contact with a visiting professor from Berkley University, and we kept on missing one another. He returned home and every time we tried to Skype the internet misbehaved. We ended up playing telephone tennis and left numerous voicemail messages for one another! I was then thrilled to hear that he was returning to Cape Town, but imagine my disappointment when I realised that his dates were to coincide with my trip to the States!
Finally we managed to chat and we realised that we were connected across the miles, by our leadership philosophy. Professor Mark Rittenberg specialises in leadership communication tuition at a university that believes you need to develop the mind and the heart of a leader. They have in excess of 60 hours of leadership training for every student in their faculty as they believe everyone deserves the opportunity for personal growth. Our conversation kept on coming back to the fact that we believe in the same fundamentals.
He asks a few vital questions of leaders to determine their authenticity:
- Who are you?
- What do you bring to the table?
- What makes you unique?
- What is your contribution to the corporation?
Our lively debate centred on the fact that people do not leave organisations, they leave people. If a leader cares about their people, their families and their futures, then that person is more likely to stay in the team. Prof. Rittenberg brings groups of top MBA students to SA to expose them to leadership at grassroots level, to true entrepreneurship and our unique business landscape. We agreed that in South Africa often we lack confidence about our leadership abilities, but are high on talent. An actor and director by training, he believes that ‘everyone can sing’. Everyone has a voice. Everyone is a leader – you need to pick up on five clues to develop your leadership potential:
A leader needs to be a coach, to develop their team and to develop themselves into the best brand ambassadors that a company can have. “Use your team as human billboards” he states. I agree. Leaders – allow every member of your team to find their voice, to amplify it and become the best brand advertisement that they can be. They too will then sing off the same hymn sheet as you.