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Inspirational leadership journey through four decades!


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By Dr. Madhu Fernando

With its primary mission to uplift management practices in Sri Lanka on par with the best international standards, The Management Club (TMC), continuously provide opportunities for the personal and professional growth and success of its members, with various activities built around Management and Leadership. Whether it is about leading one’s own business or leading a large community, or a large corporate entity, TMC always offers something everyone can benefit from, at all levels.

This month’s presentation at TMC highlighted that good ‘followership’ is also as important as good leadership. Citing work of Barbara Kellerman, Col. Faiz ur Rahman said, “To be a good leader, first you have to be a good follower.”  Col. Faiz’s speech was based around five leadership rules, he himself has challenged as he was moving from one decade to another, and one role to another. These five basics lessons on leadership were: 

  • You have to earn your position, 
  • Understand Leadership is a responsibility, not a position
  • Do more than other members in the team
  • Limited Tenure
  • Train your successor

Sharing four decades of his experience and linking them to various work done by the management and leadership gurus as well as spiritual leaders like Swami Nithyanandan and political leaders like Nelson Mandela and Mahathma Gandhi, he has taken TMC members through an insightful journey within a short period of time, inspiring each and everyone in the audience. Members were fortunate to listen to leadership insights about “Leaders who lack legitimacy to lead” by Henry Mintzberg’s to “Practices of Servant Leadership” by Robert K. Greenleaf with practical examples from various industries Col. Faiz, has been contributing to over the years. He has also shared that how his leadership was also influenced by the wisdom of great philosophers like Howard Gardner. Listening to Col. Faiz, I personally admired the depth of knowledge he has been accumulating, the large number of philosophers and the great leaders from all disciplines he has been observing, and his openness to share how he has applied the essence of it to his leadership roles over four decades. 

Concluding his speech, Col. Faiz left the audience with a beautiful message to think through and act on with commitment. He said, “I recommend to myself and all of you in the audience, as your legacy for future generations, to strive to transmit this nation, greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”



(The writer is a Management Consultant and CEO of Innova Strategies Ltd.)


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