5 Sacrifices A Leader Must Make


You may believe that as a leader your job is relatively easy, where you simply watch over and manage the behaviour of your employees; this is not so. As a leader, you have a number of responsibilities including not only watching over your employees but ensuring that they manage their work effectively and that they are happy.

It’s also part of your job to make sacrifices for the company and for those that work below you.

Not all of these sacrifices have to be extravagant or draw attention to your person, but they have to be made for the right reasons.

5 Sacrifices A Leader Must Make


sac·ri·fice [ sákrə f̄̀ss ]

  1. giving up of something valued: a giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered to be of more value or importance


1) Sacrificing Time and Energy

Giving both your time and energy in order to help others and the company that you work for is a sacrifice that all excellent leaders make. This is an important sacrifice because you cannot regain the time or energy that you have expended; once you’ve given them to somebody else they become lost to you. By giving your time and energy it also means that you are working hard towards not only your future, but that of your colleagues and employees too.

2) Ambition

Another sacrifice that is often made by a leader in times of need is that of their own ambition. By prioritising the needs of others including your employees, you leave less time for you to focus on yourself; any parent will understand this situation completely and the same applies to any leader.

To truly look after your workforce, you must focus on their every need to ensure their productivity. By helping those around you to succeed, you may have to sacrifice personal pursuits but these actions will always have a positive effect going forward.

3) Authority

As a leader there will come a time within your job when you are asked to sacrifice your absolute authority in order to let others progress and develop the skills that are needed to reach a higher position. Giving up authority can be difficult and threatening but it is important for your workforce to feel that they are progressing and learning new skills.

4) Benefits

As a leader it’s your duty to protect those around you and ensure their happiness; even in times of difficulty and instability. If your company is suffering from temporary financial instability (as many have during the recession), as a leader you should set the example by forgoing any bonuses and if necessary taking a pay cut. An excellent leader would never ask of anything from their employees that they aren’t willing to do themselves.

5) Relationships

As a decision-maker, you will understand that you may not always be liked or favoured for making the right decisions. For example, if you feel that an individual is not pulling their weight and fails to heed your warnings, you may find that your only solution is to remove this person from your team.

There will also be other times where you have to reject salary increases or defend requests for additional work hours to meet a deadline but by being the leader, you will sometimes have to play the villain.

Become Your Best Self

You may find that during your time as a leader, there are many other things that you must sacrifice in order to become the best leader that you can be. However, try to be fair at all times and don’t ever ask anything of your employee that you wouldn’t ask of yourself.

So, how do you feel about the idea that leaders must sacrifice in order to succeed? Do you think that if you reach a certain position or status that you no longer need to sacrifice? Or do you embrace the steps above and think that you will be more fulfilled if you learn these lessons and apply them? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Georgina Stamp

Georgina Stewart works for Marble Hill Partners
She helps Organisations to Recruit for Executive Roles and Interim Management
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Does Counting Coins Make You More Money?

Technological advancements just keep on coming. And all the while we tout them as “more efficient” and “better.”

In many ways, though, the technologies seem to only take care of “keeping the lights on” tasks.

Wasting Our Time?

These are just mundane or routine undertakings that once “wasted” precious human time.

  • Are we really any more productive though?
  • What do these technologies do to our ability to collaborate and innovate?

Compare and Contrast

I recently took a trip to the grocery store with a year’s worth of change, and after about 30-seconds of dumping coins into a machine, I was given a total and a receipt for my 22 pounds worth of coinage. When I was younger, I would bring this same pile of change to the bank, and wait patiently while the teller spent 10 minutes counting it out. During this time, my parents would chat casually with one of the bank employees.

While this wasn’t a huge transaction, or even particularly important business for the bank, manually completing the task allowed time for relationships to be built between my parents (the customers) and various bank employees (the business).

Now the automatic coin-counting machine has replaced the teller for this task. Yes, that bit of technology frees up some time for the teller and allows him or her to “get more done,” but at the end of the day, is it really making any more money for the bank?

Getting More Done With Less

With all of these technological breakthroughs, most of us are able to be very self-sufficient in the workplace. We can accomplish dull tasks more quickly and more accurately than in years past.

With that tech-based efficiency, however, we’ve adopted this idea that the same amount of work can be done by fewer people – and therein lies the problem.

It’s true that technology allows us to be more “productive,” but what are the underlying costs to the organization?

No Bandwidth

A recent client of mine, an information technology group, reduced its team of database engineers from 55 to 45 employees. Because they are exceptional people with state-of-the-art technology, they were able to maintain the same level of customer and project support even with the reduction in staff. There was no noticeable drop off in performance or reliability. There were, however, some unintended consequences:

  • The team has little to no ability to take on new projects
  • Team member get over 400 emails every day, and that’s not including phone calls, instant messages, and texts
  • Career development is stagnant – not intentionally, but because there is no time to dedicate to it
  • Database interruptions, though rare, now take almost 30% longer to resolve

While the current workload wasn’t impacted, the reduced workforce left zero bandwidth available to take on anything outside of their narrowly defined roles. Customers were mildly disappointed in this lack of expandable service, and other IT teams found the group difficult to work with – because the level of stress (with no prospect of relief) has the team stretched tight like a drum.

Now What?

Instead of looking at how to get more done with fewer people, organizations need to start asking themselves, “what’s best for the company?”

In an emergency, sometimes layoffs can’t be avoided, but it’s worth considering that a team with adequate resources and enough members is far more capable of scaling to meet demand.

When every member of a workforce is operating at maximum capacity, there is no room for additional polish on a task, no room for an expanded market share, and perhaps most importantly, no time to devote to solving problems and innovating within the company itself.

Doing Things Better

Instead of looking for ways to do more with less, companies should simply be look at how to do things better. The push to “increase productivity” is a false measure of success, because efficiency is not necessarily akin to quality.

Productivity is not just accomplishing more with fewer resources, or in less time, but rather the collective result of taking on greater workloads, improving efficiency, and delivering a higher quality result at the end of the process.

There is an assumption that technology has made organizations more productive, but is this really the case? They may be able to get the same amount of work done with fewer people, but what about taking on more work? What about coming up with innovative solutions to customer issues? What about fostering relationships?

At what point does squeezing efficiency out of a company become strangulation? When does “trimming the fat” turn into cutting out muscle? How much staffing margin be in place to make sure your organization is primed for growth and opportunity? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Anil Saxena

Anil Saxena is a President & Senior Consultant Cube 214 Consulting
He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
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On Leadership, Change and East African Wildebeest


Like a wildebeest in East Africa, successful leaders must dare to change.

Great Wildebeest Migration

The spectacular wildebeest migration in East Africa has been touted as one of the seven new wonders of the world. Between July and October every year, up to a million wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, and cross the border into the Masaai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

In the Masaai Mara, the wildebeest have to cross the Mara river – sometimes several times – to get to lush plains on the other side of the river. Each year as they plunge across the river, many thousands drown or are killed by crocodiles lurking in the murky waters.

The wildebeest that survive the crossing make their way to the plains, where they are stalked and hunted down by lions, cheetahs and leopards.

Why Take the Risk?

Anyone unfamiliar with this phenomenon might wonder why the animals take a journey that is fraught with so much danger. Well, the migration follows change in the feeding habitat of the wildebeest, so the animals have to move from the South to the North where they can find adequate grazing and water.

Let’s consider their options.

  • Should they ‘choose’ to remain in the Serengeti and not migrate, the pasture will be insufficient to sustain all their numbers throughout the year. And any that survive will be weak and become easy prey for predators.
  • On the other hand, making the journey to the Mara exposes them to possible death – and thousands die annually along the way. The animals that survive however find adequate pasture and water to keep them alive.

Theirs is a world where, to borrow the words of Randall White, Phillip Hodgson and Stuart Crainer in ‘The Future of Leadership’ the wildebeest “…have to change to survive; and, paradoxically, where the very act of change increases the risk that (they) won’t survive.”

It is a world of risk and opportunity; potential loss and gain. In short, one where change is absolutely necessary, and yet takes great courage.

So, what lessons can we draw from these animals, as we consider our options in life?

Lessons for Life and Business

1) Recognize the Need to Change

Whether you’re leading a team, running an organization – business or otherwise – or working on a personal project, you know that change is imminent.

Resources run out, people working with you change or move on, the external environment changes.

Therefore, as you make progress in your chosen undertaking, put in place contingency plans to help you stay on course when the inevitable changes occur. Don’t be caught unawares and therefore become a victim.

2) Take Action

When it’s time to take the next step, follow through without backtracking. In the wildebeest migration, the dangers are real – the ranging waters of the Mara, and the crocodiles in them.

But the herds cross anyway.

When you take up a leadership position, know full well that you will be leading your followers to unchartered territories and face success or failure by taking risks. In so doing, you raise yourself to scrutiny, judgment and criticism. Face the fear and do it anyway.

Alternatively, you invest your money in a project with a high probability of either success or failure. If you’ve done due diligence up to this point and have no compelling reason to hold back any longer, proceed with your planned course of action.

3) Don’t Relax

Some people taste success and then relax, struck by the deadly “destination disease.” Even after the wildebeest reach the Mara plains, they still face predators. Some cows lose their young calves and decide to go back through the waters and along the tracks to look for them.

Away from the big herds, they become easy prey for predators and often don’t survive attacks. The journey is not over. Likewise in life and business, one failure or victory does not mark the end of the journey.

Rather, it prepares you for the next section of the trip that you must continue on. Take too much time lamenting a failure or celebrating a success and you become discouraged or complacent, unable to take the next step. So, whatever happens, don’t lose sight of the journey ahead. In the words of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela:

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

Keep climbing. Keep changing. Keep growing.

Bonus – Fun fact

“Wildebeest calves gain their feet faster than the young of any other ungulate.” – Jonathan Scott’s Safari Guide to East African Animals. They stand within two to five minutes of birthing, and can run with the herd shortly thereafter – even outrunning a lioness!

What changes do you need to make in your personal or professional life? What is the next step in the plan and when will you take it? How will you handle potential setbacks brought about by either failure (discouragement) or success (complacency)?


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Joyce Kaduki

Mrs. Joyce Kaduki is a Leadership Coach, Speaker & Trainer
She enjoys working with Individuals & Teams to help them Improve their Results
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5 Ways to Build Organizational Strength in Risk-Taking Arena

Time for Change

Because business, technology, and economics have changed so drastically, today’s leaders and organizations need to provide for stability during times of chaos.

They need to excel at the implementation of change in shifting work environments. And they need to provide tenacity of purpose that offers surety and clarity in times of uncertainty.

Unfortunately, these practices aren’t in the average organization’s arsenal.

For many, it feels like they are moving through white water, experiencing significant paradigm shifts, leading at the edge, operating in chaos and dealing with ever-increasing amounts of complexity.  We’re living the headlines, book titles, and dire warnings we’ve heard over the past decade.

The Key: Increase Your Risk-Taking Capacity

It’s going to take courageous leadership to make these necessary changes happen.  And, it’s not going to be an easy journey based on the results of this year’s Mindful Leadership Practices Survey.

Risk-taking is not the forte of the average organization.

Over 21% of respondents believed the following behaviors were rarely or never demonstrated in their organizations:

  • We are risk takers.
  • We confront each other, obstacles and “undiscussables” in order to unlock progress.
  • We excel at helping tap their hidden talents and potential.
  • We take gutsy steps that make a difference.

Deep fundamental change of our organizational and leadership practices is going to take a whole lot of risk.

What Got Us Here…

Won’t get us to tomorrow.

  • Our organizational and leadership practices need to change.
  • They don’t need massaged.
  • They don’t need tweaked.
  • They need to experience a shift as significant as the business world in which we operate has experienced.

It’s Robert Quinn’s Deep Change  concept applied to organizations.

5 Ways to Build Your Risk-Taking Arena

Here are five things you can do to help build organizational strength in the risk taking arena.

1) Learn from those who take risks (even if the outcomes aren’t always perfect).  Invite them in to speak to the organization, hold a video conference, or host panel discussions to learn about:

  • How they view challenges
  • How they determine what they should do
  • What they think about as they push boundaries
  • What they do when things don’t look promising, etc.

2) Help people baby-step their way into increased confidence and skill in the risk arena.  Most big risk takers learned their way there by taking earlier and smaller risks.  Ask people to find:

  • One innovative method a year that makes a difference
  • One practice that they would recommend be dropped
  • One wacky idea that if implemented could make a significant difference

3) Ask yourself (or the greater organization) what may be preventing you from supporting innovative approaches that are controversial.  Listen, really listen.  Then, take a couple of gutsy steps that would truly make a difference.

4) Publicly recognize and reinforce risk-taking efforts – both those that are successful and those that are less than fully successful. Point out that there is always learning that can contribute to future success.

5) Foster an environment of experimentation. What needs to happen to unseat the need to be perfect before moving forward, the need to research before taking action, and/or the need to nitpick an idea before experimenting?

One of the greatest inhibitors to success is the fear that a new idea, approach, or technique will not be perfect.  It won’t.

Collectively, we need all the help we can get. What other advice would you suggest?


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Rosaria Hawkins

Rosaria (Ria) Hawkins, PhDis President of Take Charge Consultants
She helps organizations build mindful strategies to ensure long-term success
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Leaders: Creating a Holacracy Workplace

Source: TopManagementDegrees.com

On Leadership, Greatness and The Legacy of Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

When Greatness Just Isn’t Good Enough…

This recent Super Bowl brought to mind the complexity of defining the legacy of Peyton Manning.

I must confess that I am part of “Team Tom Brady” and a New England Patriots fan, so if this excludes me in your mind from being able to write on this topic then please read no further…  

Great Respect

First, let me start by saying that I have great respect for Peyton Manning. He is a great quarterback and a great leader. He has accomplished so much in his time in the NFL. However, with this said, what I don’t like is how he seems to be so loved by everyone, and that no one dare say anything negative about him.

It’s like that kid you are so fond of that even the not-so-good things they do get a pass and you still try to find the good in them.

The complexity of Peyton Manning is a rare, but real leadership phenomenon.  This rare phenomenon is when individual greatness just isn’t good enough. In leadership and in life we run into situation when we have to accept on those rare occasions that our individual best was great, yet it still was just not good enough to complete the task. This seems to be the reality of Peyton’s much-debated legacy which dates back to his college playing days at the University of Tennessee.

Contradictory Results

Here we see someone have the best season ever for a quarterback and win the NFL MVP for the 5th time; yet loses miserably to the Seattle Seahawks in what could be argued as the worst performance ever in a Super Bowl by an NFL quarterback.

What was his problem? Is he overrated? The numbers would say not at all.

In fact, the numbers tell us he is head and shoulders above the rest. This is where our leadership lesson begins; although number never lie, they don’t always tell is the truth.

There’s No “I” in Super Bowl

The truth is, sometimes individual greatness is just not good enough.  John Elway was also a great Broncos’ quarterback, but his greatness was not good enough until his team added more  talent around him. As an organization, we must recognize that we can have great individual people, and great  individual leaders, yet still not be good enough to out-due the competition.

The Few or The Many    

In the Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seattle Seahawks’ overall team was better than the Broncos. And the perceived greatest offense is league history led by Peyton Manning was expected to beat the Seahawks. But Peyton alone couldn’t get the job done. Not by a long shot. It was “embarrasing” for him.

Some leaders are great enough to take a team to the next level. But most, on the other hand, need some help to reach that higher ground.

We can get so enamored with individual greatness, that we lean too much on that one or those few people instead of building a great team. As a  football coach I had a saying that a good team could be great individuals anyday. This in my opinion, has been the achilles heal for Peyton Manning; in the end he simply gets beat by better overall teams.

Learning from a Legacy

Learning from the Legacy of Peyton Manning, here are a 3 things to consider when individual greatness just doesn’t seem to be good enough to take your organization to the next level:

  1. Are you depending too much on the greatness of a few, instead of the good of the many?
  2. Are the few who are great, willing to sacrifice personal accomplishments and accolades for overall improvement of the team?
  3. Are you willing, if necessary, to lose extremely talented individuals in order to establish an identity and a culture being a talented team (like the Seattle Seahawks)?

Being the best means there can only be one. The Seattle Seahawks prided themselves on being a bunch of nobodies who became a great team. The Super Bowl is a reminder that having the greatest player doesn’t assure you of having the better team. Are you willing to make changes in your organization when the individual greatness that exist may just not be good enough? Are you willing to invest in excellence at every level to help make the whole into champions? What can you do to start building better teams? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Dr. Tommy Shavers

Dr. Tommy Shavers is President of Tommy Speak LLC. and Unus Solutions Inc.
His lenses are Teamwork, Leadership, and Communication
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On Leadership Challenges in the 21st Century

Leadership Challenges

One of the basic and fundamental challenges facing any thought leader in the area of leadership and leadership development is to correctly read the landscape in which their influence will be played out in the coming years.

Available literature on the topic, not surprisingly, is abound with observations, recommendations and suggestions.

Future Leadership Challenges

In “Leadership in the 21st century” Professor Isabell Welpe makes the observation that leaders now face three types of challenges, being:

  1. Globalization and diversity – being able to effectively lead multinational companies and a racially diverse group of employees
  2. Acute talent shortage – arising from demographic changes in the Western societies
  3. A demand for flattened hierarchies – reflecting the demand of Generation Y for flattened hierarchies

Isabell concludes her analysis with this recommendation:

Instead of focusing on leadership styles, leaders should concentrate on building trusting and just relationships with their followers. Showing positive emotions towards followers might be an effective tool to reach this goal.”

Future Leadership Wisdom

In “10 Things Every Leader Should Challenge” Mike Myatt suggests this

Leading in the 21st Century affords no safe haven for 20th Century thinkers.”

And while it is easy to submit that the rules  of leadership are timeless and are based on immutable truths, discussions with leaders (as in “Leading in the 21st Century“) suggest otherwise. They openly admit that:

“They are operating in a bewildering new environment in which little is certain, the tempo is quicker, and the dynamics are more complex. They worry that it is impossible for chief executives to stay on top of all the things they need to know to do their job. Some admit they feel overwhelmed.

On Leadership and Self-Development

The abundance of challenges seem to suggest that the capacity of leaders to rely on self-development to enhance and up-skill their leadership capabilities is limited, if not out-right impossible.

This is the subject of a succinct article titled “The Limits  of Leadership Development” by  Brian Robertson. Brian makes the claim that attempts to elicit organizational transformation through leadership development results in short-lived improvements.

Leaders who are interested in broadening the transformational horizons of the their respective organizations would therefor need to not only invest in their own development but will also nee this:

“To upgrade the way power and authority formally get defined, the way decisions get made, the way meetings happen, the way the organization is structured, and the processes used to define and execute day-to-day work.”

Brian’s suggestion is profound and implies two main messages:

  1. Leaders and organizations now need to grow together and  the success of their development is dependent on each other.
  2. The Top-Down notion of leadership can no longer work and a bi-directional leadership model now needs to explored and adopted. Distributed and collaborative leadership seems to be a better model to adopt.

Leadership Horizons

The search for the magic leadership formula is  unlikely to ever get resolved. As circumstances change the so will the expectations and the solutions need to adapt accordingly.

From the viewing platform we are all standing on we are likely to see or perceive different horizons.

My interpretation of the horizon is that the path forward is firmly grounded in increased business agility. This is not about applying leadership frameworks processes, but rather about implementing a set of values and promoting certain concepts.

And  in the spirit of agility, this notion does nor carry any prescriptive path.  It can borrow from the work already done in the domains of Beyond Budgeting and Holacracy and can, and indeed should, be adapted to suit the wishes, aspirations of the organization and its leadership.

So what are some of the challenges you are facing today? How are you facing them? Are you looking to control situations and outcomes, or are you looking toward to the horizon with remedies in mind? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Shim Marom PMP, MSP, ICAgile ICP

Shim Marom is a Melbourne, Australia based Project Management Consultant
He blogs and engages in Public, Forums and Online Discussions
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