Leadership is Felt. It is Not About Titles.

Tom Kamaliki | 17th August 2020

Career Development
Leadership is Felt. It is Not About Titles.

Leadership is Felt. It is Not About Titles.

Tom Kamaliki | 17th August 2020

Career Development

I have read about leadership including publications on LinkedIn and other sites. If there is any subject matter, I have always developed keen interest in is Leadership. In 1997 at IHRM, by then IPM-Kenya, I happened to meet one Allan Bukusi, who took me through a course on Reward Management at post-graduate level- packaging an attractive reward program to motivate staff at the workplace.  After IHRM, I have continued to keep in touch with Allan who has walked me through the journey of leadership, being a consulting expert in the area. It is this journey that opened my eyes- that without leadership that positively touches people’s hearts, all what we do never makes sense to our staff and the community around us.

As Allan was walking me through the journey of Reward, I was just in my prime in HR after some years of teaching high school and procurement in the Hospitality industry. I knew very little about leadership otherwise thanks to DK Ndambuki at the State Law Office, where my HR career started. He was the Chairman of Sheria Welfare Association and a down-to-earth person. Any moment you could knock at his office, DK (as he was popularly known) could abandon whatever he was doing to attend to you with a lot of humility. I had a feeling to develop a close relationship with this man who was elderly to me, and of course by God’s grace, I succeeded. After two years of friendship, DK picked my hand and sold my candidature for the prestigious Secretary General position for the Sheria Welfare. How did he succeed? His leadership was felt all over and employees (both junior and senior) believed his word; no wonder I went unopposed. DK made me dine with the big shots in the government.  There were occasions especially the End Year parties held at Parliament buildings where DK and I had the privilege to sit on the same high table as the Attorney General ( the Welfare’s Patron), the Solicitor General, Chief Justice, Speaker of the National Assembly,  to mention but a few. He could help me draft a speech that I would use to address members and invited dignitaries led by the Hon Attorney General- the Patron (by then Hon Amos Wako). During my tenure as Secretary General, DK grew my leadership skills outside HR and up to now, I still feel his leadership and yet he retired long time ago and we have never seen each other for over 10 years. Not me alone. Anybody who worked with Mr  Ndambuki at the State Law office has many positive things  to talk about this old man.

That aside. My concern is, if we are asked what kind of leaders we are, what will be our responses? If the answer is not Felt Leader, then I do not know if we deserve to be holding these positions in those organizations. Kindly google ‘Felt Leadership’ and read more about this last-born baby of Mr & Mrs Leadership.

Managers who exercise Felt Leadership do lead by example, are visible to their employees, and engage with their staff at both professional and personal levels. Such managers spend time with their employees and listen to them. Felt Leadership managers are concerned about the skills and career development of their employees. These are managers who go beyond work and get concerned about employees’ welfare. They are managers who celebrate wins and success together with their employees. They are safety valves to their employees when they happen to go through challenging times. Employees prefer working in organizations that have strong culture of Safety. Such leaders focus on influencing their employees to commit to thinking and behaving in ways that are consistent with what is important for the business and their personal safety. These are leaders who lead by example because they feel and believe in what they do. Felt leadership is the building block in constructing trust and real-world relationships among employees and customers. It is a leadership that:

  • Is easily observable
  • Makes a positive impression on those who are affected by it
  • Demonstrates personal commitment
  • Pervades the organisation
  • Affects and involves all levels of employees

Let us allow our staff to plot our graphs along this continuum and allow them to write anonymous briefs about us. How will it come out?


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