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THE RAREST ELEMENT
As professionals we can probably all recall the brushes we have had with great leadership and truly great leaders …
“Great leaders are great listeners, who know their best asset is the people they work with” Richard Branson
Unlike many folks living in South Africa we are lucky enough to be able to contract a private security company to monitor our property when we are not at home, react to intruder alarms and generally keep a presence in the neighbourhood where we live. I don’t want to get into a debate on the need for the service due to a stubbornly high crime rate or the inevitable tag that private security is only for rich people. These issues are valid and sadly true, no debate required. However, there are certain qualities of the people who work for this particular company which I find really distinguishable from other’s we have contracted in the past for the same service. Every single one of their employees who I have interacted with on both a formal and informal basis (some of them live in our area) is professional, courteous, respectful, approachable and above all dedicated to their work. Despite the fact that we expect them to consistently run into potentially dangerous situations involving ruthless and savage criminals they all do so without fail and they do it with a willingness that I seldom see in many service organisations of this type. That’s almost unbelievable I can hear you say but it is true. It’s true to the point that I trust these brave bunch of security officers more than I trust the police which is actually a sad admission to make and not really fair to the thousands of dedicated personnel which make up our local security structures.
But what is it that makes these officers do what they do with such dedication? Yes, personal integrity and pride in their work is in there for sure but it’s also something else that motivates them every day and shines through in every one of their actions. It’s not just a pay check and it’s not the fear of joblessness, it’s not even a sense of public duty (although that can take you much of the way there if you have it). It’s one of the most rare and unattainable elements in our universe – leadership.
Within that organisation there is an individual (or several) that provides such a strong sense of direction, foresight and commitment to creating the best security company possible that it makes itself evident in everything they do. It’s not stated in black & white, it’s not emblazoned on their vehicles but it’s there and its visible in the satisfaction its employees take in doing their job as well as they can.
As professionals we can probably all recall the brushes we have had with great leadership and truly great leaders. If like me, you were so amped after these experiences you felt like you could achieve anything and go anywhere, that your commitment to the team, the company and the cause was just and good and that the future was bright and full of hope (cue the energising movie music, cut scenes of you working hard, high fives with the team, fist pumps and ending on the awards ceremony) But, if we’re honest, its rare and few people have the ability to inspire us to live up to and go beyond our beliefs and limitations.
For Eiffel Corp a company that specialises in eLearning and technology we see the ability that great leadership has to change organisations and institutions from good ones to great ones, to turn frustrated colleagues into committed partners with shared stories of success and to lead teams to achieve accolades they never thought possible. From Shackleton to Mandela and all throughout history inspiring leadership stories abound and it’s up to us strive for it personally and recognise and associate with it where it works for the good of us and our organisations. And just like those admirable officers do when they respond to the next house alarm, think of how a good leader motivates and extends excellence through their team when they’re doing what they do. In the immortal words of Kahlil Gibran, work is love made visible. If that’s the case, then great leadership is surely the seed of that love.