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Transformational leaders' mindset
Apart from being extraor-
dinary leaders who trans-
formed their respective
countries and societies,
none of them held a po-
sition of authority while
they were engaged in the transformational
process. When you consider that careful-
ly, that is truly remarkable. Gandhi held no
position of authority in the Indian National
Congress when he led the people of India to
independence through non-violent means.
Mandela was incarcerated in an island-pris-
on in South Africa when he fought to over-
turn the apartheid regime. And Mother Te-
resa had nothing more than grit and sheer
dedication when she transformed the lives
of the lepers and other untouchables on the
streets of Calcutta, India.
In other words, all that these three great
leaders had was their ability to influence
people through their words and deeds,
eventually influencing the course of history.
What differentiates a great leader from the
one who is simply average? It is influence.
How do you become an
Nido Qubein, Crestcom faculty member
featured this month, points out that we all
have four kinds of capital that we can lev-
erage on to influence people. Besides the
obvious financial capital, there are three
other forms of capital that we can all build:
educational capital, relational capital, and
Most executives and managers have some
form of educational capital. Whether it is
obtained from a university or from the "uni-
versity of life"
, the training and experience
one has can be of tremendous value. Apart
from using it to build your career, you can
also use it to influence people by showing
that you care by sharing what you know.
People don't care how much you know until
they know how much you care.
The next form of capital is relational cap-
ital. We all build relationships over a period
of time. Do we put in enough into these rela-
tionships such that they become a valuable
asset for us to leverage on? Relationships are
like a bank account. You have to make depos-
its in before you can take value out of them.
So how do you build your
Qubein suggests that you start by pre-
paring a list of people in your business
community with whom you would like to
build a relationship. He calls this his "List
of 100". Every month or two make sure you
touch base with the people on your list at
least once. This could be just saying hello
over social media such as LinkedIn, Face-
Book, WhatsApp, etc, or it could be to send
a birthday wish, an article or a TedTalk that
you came across that might be of interest to
that person, or even a book that the person
might appreciate. These will help make the
deposit in the account.
When the time comes for you to seek the
advice or assistance of that person, they
would be more than happy to do so, because
you have built your relational capital with
Note that in building these relationships
it is important to be genuine in your interest
in the other person. Otherwise it would be
superficial and will not pay the dividends
either for you or the other person.
The fourth capital is your reputation. Your
reputation is built over many years through
your words and, more importantly, your ac-
tions. If you would like to build a reputation
of getting things done, seek opportunities
that would help you to demonstrate this
Join a social group and lead some projects
to help those who need help. If you want to
build a reputation as a thought leader, seek
opportunities to demonstrate your thought
leadership by sharing your ideas with your
colleagues or industry peers through pres-
entations, articles or speeches at appropriate
Keep in mind that it takes years to build a
good reputation but it can be lost in a mo-
Here's a story of how a simple
act of kindness can be influential
to a fertile mind.
In the 1920 Olympic Games, a sprinter
named Charlie Paddock from US won the
gold medal in the 100-meter race. Paddock
returned home, a hero, and he was proudly
called "the fastest man in the world."
Years later, as he was speaking at a school
in Georgia, a little boy came up to him and
said, "Mr Paddock, I guess I'd give about
anything---if when I grow up---I could be an
Olympic champion in the 100-metre dash
just like you." Charlie Paddock looked at the
little boy, smiled, and responded, "If you
really want it bad enough, and if you really
believe and work hard for it, it can happen
to you." That little boy remembered those
kind words and eventually grew up to be a
very fast sprinter. In 1936, that little boy
had become a young man and he turned in
one of the greatest performances in Olym-
pic history as he captured the gold medal
in the 100-metre dash in Berlin. His name
was Jesse Owens.
When Jesse Owens returned to the US,
he was hailed as a hero and was called "the
fastest man in the world." During a parade
in Cleveland, Ohio, as Owens was being
honored, a little boy approached him and
said, "Mr Owens, I guess I'd give just about
anything -- if when I grow up -- I could be the
100-meter champion just like you."
Remembering a similar conversation
he'd had years earlier with his hero Charlie
Paddock, Owens smiled, looked down at the
little boy, and said, "If you really want it,
and if you really believe and work hard for
it, it can happen to you." Several years later,
in 1948, that young man won the Olympic
gold medal in the 100-metre dash. His name
was Harrison Dillard.
Through thought and diligence, and lev-
eraging on the three additional capital you
have, you too could be a transformational
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What's common between Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa?
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