In one of the many books about great leaders and their qualities, The art of leadership, Donald Walters writes about lessons we could learn from George Washington. He gives one profoundly positive example showing that leading others isn’t about driving them, directing them, or coercing them, but about compelling them to join you as their leader in pushing into new territory − motivating them to share your enthusiasm for pursuing a shared objective, and conducting yourself in a way that shows that you believe people are more important than things.
Walters write that, in essence, leadership (regardless of where you are a leader) isn’t about exercising power over people but rather about finding effective ways to work with people. The most effective form of leadership is supportive; it’s collaborative; it’s about never assigning to another a task, role or function that you would not be willing to perform yourself.
Leading well is as simple as remembering to remain other-centred instead of self-centred.
Our cover profile of this month is such an inspirational leader who believes in teamwork and being focused on his people.
Stanley Bergman, who grew up in a small community in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), now leads the world’s largest provider of healthcare products and solutions with a staff complement of 21 000. As CEO of Henry Schein, he is seen as a leader in social responsibility and said that for him, the ESG movement is all about balancing all the constituents in society and that it goes back a long time. ‘Benjamin Franklin called it “enlightened self-interest” – the notion that business should be about more than making money. They should be there for all the constituencies in society.’
Henry Schein has featured on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies for 20 consecutive years and is considered by many in its sector as a leader in social responsibility.
Bergman has won numerous awards throughout his career, including CEO of the Year in 2017 − a coveted honour also received by the likes of Jack Welch and Michael Dell.
He said that growing up, he learned from his dad that you better have something to say if you open your mouth. And from being involved in youth groups, he said he learned that if you want to get things done, you’ve got to get everybody involved, make everyone happy. Read his story on page 10.
And never lose sight of the fact that people are more important than things …
Editor: Accountancy SA