Wisdom from the Motherland - Leadership Lesson 1 from Shaka Zulu
Lesson 1 - Build a Sense of Mission
Shaka grew up knowing that one way or another he had to be king. He would spend hours alone, gazing into the distance. This earned him the nickname among his peers of being "the Zulu with eyes stuck eZulwini" (in the heavens). The first lesson he learned from his mentor, the great Dingiswayo, was that his dream had to be chiseled into a noble and coherent vision, or it would have degenerated into nothing.
"If you want to be a leader, you must have a sense of mission. If you want to be a leader who builds enduring monuments, you must be consumed by no other interest but your sense of mission. If you stumble across leadership opportunities, but those opportunities are just a fortuitous distraction, your work will be like dew drops that evaporate at the rise of the sun. But if you have conditioned your mind, if you have spent most of your waking time thinking bout your mission, when the opportunity comes your way, you will grasp it with such vigor that it will cry for mercy."
These lessons can also be applied to business leadership today:
- Only businesses with a strong sense of mission enjoy long-lasting success.
- Take the time to THINK about where your business is heading, and seriously consider what your goals are, what you wish to achieve, and what your focus should be.
- Formulate your mission in a brief concise statement.
- Be convinced and enthusiastic about your mission. Create a sense of co-responsibility for the mission among employees.
- Cultivate awareness of the mission by continuously promoting the mission statement. Do not allow your employees for one minute to forget the mission and lose their focus.
- If your business activity no longer fulfills the mission, do not be afraid to change direction, even if it has to be a 180 degree change.
- Get rid of employees who do not promote the mission with conviction and dedication.
- Get an objective opinion from someone you trust, and who will be honest with you.
Leadership Lessons from Emperor Shaka Zulu the Great
Written by: Phinda Mzwakhe Madi
Last edited by Thuso : August 18th, 2009 at 12:47 PM.