#JongStemme: Dare to lead


By Nadine Grant

Being a leader does not mean you have to have a title and having a title does not automatically make you a leader.

Anyone can be a leader. The problem is there are so few people willing to do the hard work necessary to be one. It is very easy to give orders, abuse authority or simply threaten people. However, it takes hard work to motivate, inspire and mentor people.

The fantastic part about leadership is that you don’t need a title to prove that you are a leader. People don’t follow leaders because they have a title. People follow leaders because they have the passion, values, vision and inspiration.

Leadership is about inspiring people to believe in themselves, their gifts, their potential and something much bigger than their own self-preservation. Simon Sinek, an inspirational speaker on business leadership, put it well: “A leader is someone who speaks last to give everyone an opportunity to feel that they are heard”.

Take the following as an example:

You as a leader walk into a meeting and you say to the team: “This is the problem and this is how I think it should be solved. What do you think?”. Immediately, you unconsciously influence the team’s thinking because they think this is the only way out. Let’s turn the situation around and you as the leader walk into the meeting, explain the problem and ask the team for their opinions on the solution.

By doing this, you create an environment in which team members feel that they are included and that their opinion counts. It also creates an opportunity for you as a leader to see things from a different perspective. To put it another way: A leader is someone who first listens and then speaks.

Leaders are people who create a safe environment for a team, a place where they feel comfortable enough to develop their own potential and feel motivated to do so. It will also cause the people to want to come to work, because they enjoy being at work and being around leaders who allow them to see their own value.

The greatest gift leaders can give to those around them is time. The time that leaders sacrifice to positively influence people is worth more than all the money in the world. One of the things that many people fear is the unknown. However, leaders go into the unknown first, they take the risk. The famous Elon Musk once said that risk is the price you pay for opportunity. They set the example for others and without knowing it, they motivate the people around them to do the same.

Leaders must know how to have uncomfortable conversations to remove any negative culture within a business. Something as small as a white lie can create a culture of lies which is why it is important for a leader to be able to communicate.

Remember leadership is not about you, but about the people around you. We need more leaders like those who will stand up and want to make a difference in businesses – leaders who design other leaders. I want to challenge people to come forward and dare to lead.

  • NĂ¡dine Grant is a practice manager who completed her honors degree in business management through Akademia.

#JongStemme is a project by RNews and Solidarity Youth that wants to emphasize the youth’s voice in the public domain. Visit Solidarity Youth’s website at www.jeug.co.za for help and advice with your career.

If you are between 18 and 26 years old and want to write an opinion piece, send an email to jeug@solidariteit.co.za and we will be happy to get in touch with you.