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Updated 29 Sep 2020

Leadership is not about you, but it’s all about you

Nicola Tyler, CEO of Business Results Group, presented at the Standard Bank GIBS Business Breakfast on what distinguishes a good leader from a great one.

30 August 2014  Share  0 comments  Print

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CEO of Business Results Group (Pty) Ltd, Nicola Tyler is considered South Africa’s local expert in the field of lateral thinking. 

She has been personally trained by Dr Edward de Bono in his creative and lateral methodology and is a master at applying the techniques in real business situations.

Speaking at the GIBS Business Breakfast Leadership, Tyler says that leadership is not a position or title but a way of being.

“We are all human beings at the end of the day. We are not better than but we might be different than each other,” says Tyler.

“A title is irrelevant if we can’t bring a sense of personal leadership to our everyday lives and what we are doing.”

What discerns awesome leaders from average leaders

According to Tyler what we all have in common is our need for recognition. What distinguishes a good leader from the masses is that great leaders understand that all people must be recognised and acknowledged. 

"In whatever setting people find themselves in, they will always encounter hierarchies, be it at a dinner table or within an organisation. This pyramid is filled with the rich, middle class and the poor, or victims of society.

"Despite their place on the pyramid, everyone is searching for recognition, but great leaders don’t get stuck in the cloud of malaise. Great leaders step out of the pyramid,” Tyler explains.

There are two rules of leadership that she feels great leaders understand:

Rule #1: It’s not about you.

“The minute you separate yourself from the hierarchy you can now recognise and acknowledge other people for who they are and not who you need them to be,” says Tyler.

Great leaders understand that it’s not about them.

Rule #2: It’s all about you.

When you don’t know yourself well enough, you move back into the pyramid where you seek recognition because of a lack of self-fulfilment.

“Great leaders understand themselves well enough. When you don’t know yourself very well then you will not be able to acknowledge other people because you will only be giving them recognition based on your own need fulfilment,” Tyler explains

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