When you row another person across the river, you get there yourself – Fortune Cookie
‘Mr CEO, you are looking at a frustrated employee’. These were the words which I told my Chief Executive some years ago. I had been going through some challenging moments in my career. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I had just popped in to send an email to the CEO when he happened to be also in the office. I placed a call on his extension and he agreed to meet me that very same day. I narrated to him my frustrations and he responded by quoting the wisdom of King Solomon saying – ‘A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men’.
It was a simple response yet profound. It stirred the gift (talent) in me, and from that day I did some interesting things in my career, and experienced accelerated progress. Today my voice is heard in places I have not been to because someone dared me to discover my great within. That CEO’s name is Mr Douglas Mboweni and is still the CEO of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. The fact that he has won numerous personal business awards and that Econet is by any measure one of, if not the best and biggest companies in Zimbabwe, speaks volumes about Douglas Mboweni’s leadership skills, in particular his people skills. It is the soft stuff which drives hard results.
Let me unpack the people mastery lessons from this moment, building on the Personal Mastery insights from last week.
People mastery is the ability to bring out the best in others. It is your skill in adjusting your actions in order to optimise the abilities of others around you. The reason why personal mastery is important is so that you have better self awareness, self control, self confidence and assertiveness. It is concerned with intrapersonal (what happens in you). People mastery is how you relate with others in a way which empowers others (interpersonal – what happens between you and others). You cannot lead others beyond how you lead yourself. The dimensions of people mastery include empathy,leadership collaboration and developing others.
People mastery is the intelligent use of your emotions to ushers others into their destiny. It is using your light, to gives others light. It is giving voice to the voiceless and using your gifts as wings on which other people’s dreams can fly. You are like the horse of an articulated truck. You have the power and the energy to pull others. If you don’t pull others you will get to your destination with nothing. What a waste of all that energy! More stars give more light.
Empathy – People Are God’s Masterpiece
This dimension is about being sensitive to others’ feelings and perspective, attentive to emotional cues, listening well and help out based on understanding other people’s needs and feelings. Mr Mboweni opened his door to listen to what was on my heart. Each person is a mystery and must be approached with a deep sense of awe. Treat people as special and unique whose depth and breadth you cannot fathom. There is seed of greatness in every one of us. As the masterpiece you are the zenith of creation.
Leadership – Merchants of Hope
One of Mr Mboweni favourite quotes is Napoleon’s, ‘Leaders are merchants of hope’. People mastery like leadership is about inspiring and guiding others, articulating and arousing enthusiasm for a shared destination of hope. On that day when I was despondent, he gave me hope. He ignited the embers which were dying in me. Do you crush the hope of those around you? Do you inspire others to become great? Are you a giant surrounded by dwarfs?
Ennobling and Enabling
You do not become great by what you accumulate but by what you give. A high and mighty leader strips others of confidence, pride and any sense of self worth. That Sunday afternoon, he could have easily rejected my request to see him, let alone at such an immediate notice. Remember I was then, ‘a mere junior staff member who was expected to tip toe when walking in the Executive Wing corridor’. People mastery is about ennobling and enabling others. It is about making others blossom with confidence in your presence than shrink with fear.
Sense what others need to develop, acknowledge and reward people’s strengths, accomplishments and development. Celebrate others, sing their songs, and touch their hearts before you ask for their hands.
GAINING MASTERY IN LIFE CONFERENCE – If you are in South Africa or in the region, El Shaddai World Ministries will be hosting this conference this weekend. Masters in various spheres of life will be sharing, including Bishop Tudor Bismark, author and motivational teacher Pastor Charles Magaiza, African Sun CEO, Pastor Shingi Munyeza, business leader Apostle Sam Fidelis. For registration details go to www.elshaddaiworld.org