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The Confidence Booster 10 – By Dr. Ted Msipa

Reflections from my late father

Tuesday Greetings

 It is a wonderful day today because this is the day that the Lord has made. We choose to rejoice and celebrate in it. Today I choose to revisit the wisdom from the archives. I choose to reflect on lessons learned from my great father.

Ascending on high

This year marks the 7th year of ascending to the heavenly glory of my father, Papa Chris who signed off from planet earth at the ripe age of 88. My dad was a practical man and a leader. He taught me various leadership tricks which I have used and perfected over the years. What is amazing is that my father was not a Ph.D. fella but he was a graduate of the school of hard knocks hence he had practical sound advice for me before I solicited it or even imagined that I needed it.

Wisdom for Ages  

The scripture does not lie when saying the glory of the old people is in their wisdom. I look back in awe what the numerous lessons I gleaned from the old boy’s masterclasses which honestly speaking I thought were unwarranted and bordered on oppressing my youthful exuberance and freedom.  Little did I know his words were the prescription I desperately needed.

Leaders Own Up

 Every time he gave me an assignment and I failed to succeed and then would try to blame another person for the debacle, my father would whip me with a fanbelt and demand that I own up for my shortcomings. Little did I know that he was teaching me the ownership of my shortcomings so that I grow through the mistakes instead of absolving myself of wrongdoing.

Refuse to be limited

He was a very innovative character who loved the idea of learning new things. Such was his tenacity to learn that he taught himself to read and write English without ever seeing the door of a real school. He refused the label of an orphan to limit him. I have tried to emulate his example by ensuring that I learn new things every year. Whether it is a language or a skill I refuse to enter a new year without having learned something from the past year. Leaders do not grow overnight but daily.

Learn to speak less

My dad was an almost boring person, who did not enjoy the idea of talking too much. He spoke only when he had to. He did not speak because he had a mouth. When he spoke, he had a lot of sense in his words. Listening is one missing link among leaders and managers. Most are in love with their voices hence continually speaking even when they are not making sense. Sometimes as a leader, you need to avoid being a chatterbox who is always speaking and sharing your opinion. It is cardinal wisdom to keep quiet and wait on others’ feedback so that you do not pursue every trivial piece of information. Knowing when to wait and when to speak, is what defines the border between insanity and wisdom. Certain decisions need to be put under the microscope of time.

Lead from the right information  

As children, we were in the habit of reporting each other so that our siblings were in trouble with our no-nonsense father. However, if truth be told he would cross-check our facts more like cross-examining us and filtering through the information until he had something tangible. That is what great leaders do, they probe the facts and avoid making decisions based on emotions.

The Law of Priorities

Another great lesson was how intentional my dad was in his priorities. He always wanted the safety and warmth of the family to be never compromised. So, he would wake me and my elder brother up to go and cut firewood in the nearby forest around two in the morning. Firewood was crucial for us because yours truly was born before there was electricity in our part of Africa. I would try to excuse myself by hiding behind my books but my father would always spell the family priorities at that juncture. Great managers are intentional in their priorities. This is why every manager should have a practical understanding of the Pareto Rule.

Managers Must be Diplomatic

Wise people are relational with those in their vicinity. My dad was a popular middleman in a lot of courtships and in the process helped build a lot of young families, long before I had a family. If you are to succeed as a manager understand what Peter Drucker said about a manager, “A manager is someone who does work through others.” By extension, a manager has to build strategic relationships to help him achieve his big hairy audacious goals.   How do you relate to your subordinates? I hope you can tap into the diplomacy of Moshoeshoe to increase your sphere of influence.

Know Your Environment

My father knew his sons well, I was the young weaker son who was not technically sound. However, I was a cerebral assassin. My brother was the big and technically stronger one who would muscle his way through physically. So, my brother would be assigned more physical and menial tasks. It is important for managers to know the strengths and weaknesses of their teams. They will deploy with wisdom.  

Jesus is the real deal

However, when it comes to true success, we ought to respect Jesus Christ who is the ultimate leader and success story displayer. He modeled it, he showed disciples how to do it. He then mandated them to follow the system which made them more available. Every person who mixes with you has a great chance of success if you have a clear vision to direct them. Without a vision, you will perish.  Learn from the best to become the best.  

Get a Mentor

Great Managers have a mentor and coach mindset. Watch me do it, let us do it together. Do it, again alone as I watch you. Keep doing it alone, I am out of here as you trust the process.  They know that knowledge should be shared and distributed for organizational continuity. So much said. Keep well my friend, you deserve the best.  

May the leader in your bosom rise to conquer. Remember Jesus is Lord. Let your light shine to the nations as you lead well. You owe it to the next generation. Rise to conquer because dominion is your portion.