The Bonafide Leader


I knew a man who studied for what seemed like for ever, he got every qualification going from joinery and warehousing to philosophy and psychology. He achieved many awards and was a recognised expert in management and communication techniques even receiving several awards for his efforts in helping the community and outside businesses. He had come a long way and had worked very hard to get to where he was and he was justifiably proud of his achievements. Yes he had helped to shape mindsets and even in slight, developed his own cultural world of excellence. Others sought his knowledge and wisdom in order to follow in his footsteps or follow his ideals and practises, his training had well and truly paid off for he was now a bonafide leader of people with qualifications to prove it. He sat on his throne with pride.

The organisation he worked in needed to assign an elite team of communication consultants for a sensitive operation within the community. The task involved dealing with severely sheltered people and how to improve their intergration in society. They immediately called on the bonafide leader to head up the team of experts. They pulled out all the stops, arranged liaison meetings, visits, conferences and established networks with specialist organisations. The customer group would want for nothing and the bonafide leader and his team were commended for their work in dealing with the task.

No more than a week later, four days to be precise, all hell broke loose as many, many customers complained about being left to fend for themselves whilst the specialist organisations screamed they weren’t receiving the referrals in the way they thought they would. This led to some not very nice communications being relayed to the bonafide leaders director who wanted answers immediately.

Unfortunately the bonafide leader could not afford a suitable answer as he had done everything as he had always done and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t worked this time. The director ordered he fix it immediately so the bonafide leader went away rubbing his head for he did not know what to do differently, all he was going to do was more of the same.

In my work for a community organisation I got to hear about this issue and immediately contacted the sheltered organisation to find out the state of play. After hearing what they had to say I knew immediately what needed to be done to make it right and informed them how they could fix it sooner rather than later.

With referral systems sorted, customers being greeted and the whole process revamped I disappeared back into my community organisation.

Not before long I was contacted by the bonafide leader who was more than bemused by how I did it. I arranged to meet up with him and we chatted for five hours non stop, during which he asked,

‘How come someone with no qualifications in communication, psychology, a person with no BA honors or  fancy awards, how did you do this?’

I started to tell him that I class my self as a translatory expert, but stated a title is just a word, but in this case in relation to how I achieved a positive result it was necessary for me to have this title even for just a few moments whilst I explained. I detailed that there is a significant difference between being a communications expert and a translatory expert. The aim of translation between parties is to gain understanding and agreement between both parties, the aim of communication alone sets a channel for the translation to take place and that all he had done was set the channel but had not thoroughly checked the translation the channel afforded, hence the confusion and negative result.

At this point the bonafide leader sat staring through the ground, elbows on knees with slumped shoulders almost like a school boy being reprimanded by his head teacher, he mumbled to himself that in all his learning, education and award gathering he had known how to do the concept of being a translatory expert, he knew how to gain agreement, he had done it many times, this technique is nothing new…..

I left him with his thoughts as I disappeared back into my community organisation with no qualifications, no awards, no accolades…just me.

I Aspire to be me

See also

Is Leadership Working in our Cultures?




    1. Learning to read body language 2 « Fong Tien's Blog
    2. Translatory Experts – Project Management « Fong Tien's Blog
    3. Awkard Conversations – How We Should Have More Of Them, and How Our Policies Mean We Probably Won’t « Fong Tien's Blog
    4. Secret Dove « Fong Tien's Blog
    5. Do we really ask for what we want? | Fong Tien's Blog

    Leave a Reply

    Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google photo

    You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    %d bloggers like this: