Leadership demands the strongest sense of dedication and devotion to a cause. Great leaders remain committed even when faced with the possibility of death.

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani education advocate who, at the age of 17, became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize after surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban. Born on July 12, 1997, Yousafzai became an advocate for girls' education when she herself was still a child, which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her.

On October 9, 2012, when 15-year-old Malala was riding a bus with friends on their way home from school, a masked gunman boarded the bus and demanded to know which girl was Malala. When her friends looked toward Malala, her location was given away. The gunman fired at her, hitting Malala in the left side of her head; the bullet then traveled down her neck. Two other girls were also injured in the attack.

She survived and has continued to speak out on the importance of education. In 2013, published her first book, I Am Malala. Nine months after being shot by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai gave a speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday in 2013. Yousafzai highlighted her focus on education and women's rights, urging world leaders to change their policies.

Yousafzai said that following the attack, “the terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.”She also urged action against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism:

“The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women... Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.

The story of Malala is one of dedication and commitment, something all authentic leaders should have. There must be a cause or an issue that resonates with you such that you are willing to give your life for its realisation. Martin Luther King gave himself to the Civil rights movement, Mandela gave himself to fighting Apartheid, Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery – the list is endless.

Commitment and dedication to a cause are strong keys to effective generational leadership. Malala is now known globally for her commitment to fighting for women rights and education amongst women. What will you be known for?

On October 10, 2013, in acknowledgement of her work, the European Parliament awarded Yousafzai the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

In April 2017, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Yousafzai as a U.N. Messenger of Peace to promote girls education. The appointment is the highest honor given by the United Nations for an initial period of two years.

Yousafzai was also given honorary Canadian citizenship in April 2017. She is the sixth person and the youngest in the country’s history to receive the honor.

Taken from Luphumlo Joka’s New Book ; The Ultimate Leader-Shift.

Luphumlo is the MD of Global Leadership Consultants.

He is a Speaker, trainer and Author . To get in touch with him email his office on
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 078 848 3003.Visit / for more details.

In the year 2004 Victor Yushchenko stood for the presidency of the Ukraine- a large country in Eastern Europe known for its mainstream churches, Black Sea coastline and forested mountains. Passionately opposed by the ruling party Yushchenko’s face was disfigured and he almost lost his life when he was mysteriously poisoned. This was not enough to deter him from standing for the presidency. On the day of the election Yushchenko was comfortably in the lead. It is said that the ruling party tampered with the results to retain power and governance.

Making The Choice

When the state run television station reported that Victor Yushchenko had lost elections, a brave woman who was providing translation for the deaf on the right hand corner of the screen by the name of Natalia Dmitruk refused to translate. She translated a powerful message that gave rise to a movement against the regime of the time. “ I’m addressing all the deaf citizens of Ukraine” she signed. “They are lying and I’m ashamed to translate those lies. Yushchenko is our president.”

The Impact of Decisive Leadership

The deaf community sprang into gear and informed friends about the fraudulent result . As news spread of Dmitruk’s act of defiance , increasing numbers of journalists were inspired to likewise tell the truth.

If you believe that a job title or position is what gives you power to influence and inspire others, you're holding yourself back and restricting your growth. Influence is rooted in convictions and beliefs.

Over the coming weeks the “Orange Revolution” occurred as a million people wearing orange made their way to the capital city of Kiev demanding a new election.

The government was forced to meet their demands and a new election was held which led to Victor Yushchenko becomingpresident.

The story of the Orange Revolution is one of how an insignificant, unpopular Natalia Dmitruk influenced millions by just being true to who she was. Leadership is never about popularism, fame and glory. In most cases, like Natalias one; it is about choosing to go left when the whole world is going right. It is about setting your own course and path through remaining true to your beliefs, convictions and ultimately to truth. “One shall chase a thousand and two ten thousand.” This is true influence and power. Those who often possess it never plan to have it. It is a result of a consistent way of living a disciplined life.

The story is also a great depiction of how powerful one simple act can be. It is a commanding analogy of authentic leadership and authority. Influence does not start with how much money you have, although those that often have lot of money consequently have great influence. Natalia Dmitruk (born 1957) was not even a news anchor, she was just a sign language translator who translated what the news anchor was saying. Years later, her story of courage is still impacting many across the world.

"I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people." --Mahatma Gandhi
21st Century leaders don’t build great institutions. Schools or companies first; they build the greatest people. The legacy of great leadership is not in material centred results; It is in the people the leader has poured himself to over a period of time. The companies and the institutions we work for or are building are all secondary role players in our leadership journey; the primary factor is people. This then means that the relationships you have with other industry leaders, employees and even competitors can be your greatest resource.

If you believe that your people are the organisation then you will believe that building great people will always give you better results organizationally. On the other hand, focusing on the organisation first (systems, policies and internal mechanisms) and not its people may have the potential of causing great stress , pressure and anxiety.

Leaders are people centred people – all great leaders possess a deep genuine love for humanity. Successful organizations thrive because of the focus it has on its people. The world’s best companies understand that all organizations are as good as their people; if you have less critical thinkers and more average / mediocre employees, you will have a poor organization. Your company is truly only as great as the people who embody the mission, vision and purpose of the organization, those who go above and beyond to see the company succeed and to make clients happy. Brands that understand this fundamental principle empower their employees.

John Calvin Maxwell (born 1947) believes that "People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision." Being in the people business means that we understand that people are equally important in realising organisational visions. The focus then must shift back to people. People should always be your greatest resource.

Taken from Luphumlo Joka’s New Book ; The Ultimate Leader-Shift

Luphumlo is the MD of Global Leadership Consultants

He is a Speaker, trainer and Author . To get in touch with him email his office on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 078 848 3003.Visit / for more details.

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