There’s a concept of community in South Africa that’s called “Ubuntu.” It emphasizes the interdependence of each member of the community. It recognizes a person’s status as a human being, entitled to unconditional respect, dignity, value and acceptance. But it also entails the converse. Each person has a corresponding duty to give respect, dignity, value and acceptance to every other member of the community.

One key to leading people effectively is to orient yourself toward this Ubuntu ideal – toward viewing other people as having needs and concerns equal to your own. When you make this quantum leap, you model respectful communication. You get the right people on the bus. You lead through influence rather than authority. You manage meetings effectively. You develop effective teams.

Theodore Roosevelt said: “The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” When you lead through others, you create an environment where trust can grow. Decisions can be decentralized. Everyone begins to act like a leader.

Learn more about Leading Through Others in The Leadership Equation.

LRI’s consulting is designed to achieve real, meaningful change for our clients.

Eric Douglas

Eric Douglas is the senior partner and founder of Leading Resources Inc., a consulting firm that focuses on developing high-performing organizations. For more than 20 years, Eric has successfully helped a wide array of government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations achieve breakthroughs in performance. His new book The Leadership Equation helps leaders achieve strategic clarity, manage change effectively, and build a leadership culture.

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