An evolved leader marginalizes no one.

The Impact of Leadership
Part 3

by: Dee Rivers

An equitable leader looks at his or her world and interacts with others to clarify goals, encourage teamwork, attract support and resources, and set a course to a better future.


Transformational Leadership Development (TCD) is an intensive course for emerging world leaders that shows how to see past the status quo to positive change through inspiring others to excel in new ways.

Question: How does a Western man of peace and expert on leadership training gain access to some of the most politically inaccessible lands on earth, and, during some of the region’s most tumultuous times, gain access to the leaders -- and then be invited to return?  

Short partial answer: Compassion. Non-judgement. Good manners. Best intentions. Proven paradigm. Patience.

It is not a calling for the faint hearted: “We believe that transformation comes from relationships, and in the beginning [of the process] it’s all about building trust … gaining traction ... which takes time,” says Professor Michael (Mike) Shea, developer and director of the TCD program.

However, to people of peace committed to such endeavors, developing meaningful relationships in cultures diametric from one’s own can require unique skills.

Shea, then, with 40 years of extensive leadership experience both with various NGOs and as a small business owner, plus teaching stints in the U.S. and on foreign soil, was particularly qualified for involvement with international leadership development when, in 2005, he became a visiting instructor for Afghanistan’s central government.  

In 2007, Shea joined GHNI and rolled up his sleeves.

He structured the TLD course to be presented in three modules, each given months apart, ideally completed within one calendar year.

A leader has no need for a crown or kudoes.

“Module One focuses on leading by influence, with three aspects of effective leadership,” Shea says: “Values, Vision, and Transformation. It’s all about leading others to a better future by influence ... it is the character of the leader, not position, that is the foundation of effective leadership.”

Not position? Think of proclaimed leaders who are “to the manor born” and lead by birthright and big egos. Some feel anointed. Some are announced by trumpets at sunrise. Some are pseudo potentates.

The TLD antidote to such positional leadership is the astonishing insight into what occurs when leaders become trustworthy in the eyes of people: They will follow because they want to follow.                        

Module One also focuses on honoring others, for example, seeing staff or employees as people and not puppets or automatons or, worse, not at all.

A leader’s acknowledgement ignites connectivity, which conjoins perception, which projects the possibility of a better future. All this not from a self-perceived superstar singleton, but from the transformed leader of a superstar team.    

Such transformation of a leader can be profound. Here is a true story.

An evolved leader marginalizes no one.

In a faraway country, unnamed for security reasons, a man shares his personal leader-transformation story. Before his TLD experience, he thought himself a good man, a good leader, because not only is he a physician, he has built a hospital to serve people, providing jobs in the bargain.

However, during his TLD seminar an uncomfortable recognition stirred when he considering these questions: Do you pay attention to your staff? Do you honor them as people?

Before the conference, that would be a decided no; afterward, the shift was seminal.

“I went back to my hospital and walking down the hall in late hours I noticed a janitor who looked depressed. I had never spoken to him. Now, though, I said to him, ‘You seem depressed. Can I help’?”

The janitor lowered his head and said, no, he had too much work to do.

The doctor persisted, urging the janitor to his office, then he hung up his jacket, invited the man to sit and poured cups of tea for the two of them.

And finally the man began to talk … and talk ... about his troubles. And the doctor listened.

Listen. Are you listening?

“I helped him with his problem,” he says, with a touch of amazement, acknowledging that this would never have happened before TLD training.

And that encounter was only the beginning: The physician was utterly transformed not only in how he saw his employees, but how he served in his world: He opened a no-charge, battered women’s wing in his hospital; He opened a radio station with uplifting morning music and a call-in program offering free medical advice to the community; He opened the station for night time study assistance to help high school students prepare for the national exam.

Meanwhile, his hospital employee turnover rate has dropped dramatically, as has employee theft of hospital property.

And the doctor sees his transformed leadership empowering the lives of others, and he knows that it is good.

See part 4 of this 6 part series on February 11, 2016