A Beautiful Story About an Everyday Leader! - [website] Email Print
Published: 15th of May 2019 by: Carolyn Kessler

We spend a lot of time dissecting what attributes a leader must possess to be effective. In fact we speak about it so frequently, the discussion can easily devolve into the recitation of a trite list of attributes which loses meaning.

A few years ago, I worked with a delegate who recounted how he, as a retired person in seriously disadvantaged area, had come to build a new post-work life for himself. He explained that he had always loved cycling and, once he was no longer working, he'd taken to fixing bikes in his front yard each day; kind of as a favour to people who asked. Before long, kids from the local senior school who walked home past his yard each day, became curious and stopped over to watch him at work. As the weeks passed, he noticed more and more kids were showing an interest and some had even mooted the possibility of joining him on a ride some time.

He looked at an everyday situation and saw potential to grow it into something which would be of value to those around him. How did he do this? Well, he figured that many of these youngsters were going home to no one and nothing. They were bored and unsupervised - a recipe for disaster. So he made a deal with the kids: If they would spend the requisite time at his home each afternoon completing their homework (which he and his wife had to sign off on), he would teach them how to mend bikes with a view to forming some kind of cycling club.

He was firm on the need for homework to be completed. That was a non-negotiable. But once they had upheld their side of the bargain, he happily took them through all he knew about bikes and handyman stuff in general.

The community saw what was happening and started donating old bikes for refurbishing; some even got involved in various aspects of his endeavour.

By the time I eventually got to meet this awesome human being, he was leading a total of 16 teenagers on an hour's bike ride, 3 times a week. They were even aiming to enter some official cycling events.

Now understand, this man had never 'officially' been in a leadership position, in fact he'd worked at pretty normal job during his career. No bells and whistles, but solid. What he did have though, in spades, was the mind of a true leader and had enrolled for our Leadership workshop because he wanted tools which he could use to mentor the kids with whom he was involved.

From nothing, this man had built something of immense value in both his own, and the lives of many around him. He displayed all of the attributes vital to effective leadership, namely: vision, personal accountability, logicality, planning, engagement, practicality and integrity. He not only talked the talk, he followed through by walking the walk.

Don't ever overlook the everyday leader. The person who quietly subscribes to the above values and manifests them for others to see. Without these essential building blocks, leadership is simply a trite exercise in talking the talk.

Our workshops centre around helping delegates develop traits essential to their growth as leaders. It's an awesome process to be a part of because we learn so much ourselves through these interactions. We really are privileged.


Staff Training is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer.

Email us at info@StaffTraining.co.za for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660







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