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MARCH 2014

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Everyone’s idea of a leader is different. If you think about the most influential leaders in the world today, you may find it difficult to put a name to them. If you do, it will probably be someone with a big title or lots of money and fame.

I read an article titled “What a homeless man taught me about leadership” by blogger Tim McDonald in Huffington Post.

Tim  tells how every day he would pass a homeless man sitting in front of a closed restaurant near his office. The homeless man asked for money and he responded politely that he was in a rush. The next day he wanted to respond in the same way, but decided to stop and introduce himself to the man – to learn a little bit more about him. This action taught him a valuable lesson – which he could never image – about what leadership is all about.

After that day that McDonald stopped to talk to the homeless man (Joshua) he started to see Joshua as a man just like himself – not a stereotype of a homeless man. He couldn’t stop thinking about how he could help Joshua, since he already helped him.

The lesson he learned that leadership was not about fame or money, but about raising yourself above others, it’s being one with others. It’s also not about affecting the masses; it’s about affecting just one person. He says that leadership doesn’t mean having followers; it’s about having an impact, or influence, on those around you. Leaders belong in the community – not above it. Sharing what you do can be more powerful than what you actually do. Leadership is about helpfulness – you don’t have to lead millions, just someone. Taking time to stop and talk to someone sitting on the street and sharing what you have with others.

This philosophy of sharing has inspired us to give recognition to the young leaders – the future leaders of South Africa – by introducing the Top 35 under 35 campaign. It’s an opportunity for all CA(SA) members under the age of 35 to be recognised by their peers for their leadership abilities and the difference they’re making with what they have.

The campaign will run for six months and the top 35 will be chosen and profiled in Accountancy SA. For more information visit https://www.accountancysa.org.za/35-under-35.

Author: Gerinda Jooste

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