February, 2012

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Book review…

Redefining Leadership: Navigating the Path from Birthright to Fulfillment in Life

Assegid Habtewold (Dr.)

Infinity Publishing

ISBN-13: 978-0741468437

270 Pages (Includes front and back matter)

Peter Drucker, who has been hailed by many as the father of modern management once opined, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Is it possible that current leadership theory has gotten it wrong and leadership is not something made – but is inherent in all people? Assegid Habtewold thinks so and has written an excellent treatise on the fact that leadership is a type of birthright in his Redefining Leadership. If one desires to lead, he should find what he is passionate about and fulfill Drucker’s mantra – such a determination will inevitably lead to doing right things.

Habtewold’s writing is reminiscent of what Steven Covey postured in his Eighth Habit, where adherents are encouraged to find their voice and help others find theirs. Many who languish in life’s circles do so since they have not embraced their birthright of leadership. With Habtewold’s expert tutelage, individuals can find their calling and embrace fulfillment – not just effectiveness.

While a student in Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa University, Habtewold grew increasingly frustrated as he discovered there were no student representatives from the faculty of veterinary medicine at the AAU students’ union. Through hard work and fortitude, Assegid was elected as the president of the student union in 1998, one year after beginning his quest to see inclusion. Little did he know that his election as president of the student union would coincide with The Eritrean-Ethiopian War – which resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars spent and tens of thousands of casualties with very little effective outcome. Habtewold’s leadership would be challenged greatly and he was used as a beacon of hope to help students respond appropriately to the throes of war.

Such times demonstrate that leadership from the wilderness experiences of life is not only applicable – it is mandatory. Someone needs to step forth and help fruit develop from the circumstance. As the apostle Paul told the church of Ephesus, “…having done all to stand – stand therefore…” Assegid would remind his readers that you do not always need an official position to lead. The birthright of leadership falls to all to defend values and principles, even if they are unpopular. Keep doing the right things even if you do not see immediate change.

While Habtewold’s writing strives to be friendly of all religions, it is refreshing to see an author stand by his religious convictions. His book would make an excellent inclusion in any Bible College seeking to add a Christian perspective on leadership and its availability to all.

Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd


Note: To read other four book reviews of Redefining Leadership, click this link Amazon

Published article on self-worth

Title: You are More Than Your Net Worth and Other’s Opinion of You
Have you ever thought about how much you worth? Did it cross your mind and prompted you to scale your worth? I am not asking about how much money you have in the bank and your assets. I am talking about your true worth. Understandably, measuring one’s true worth is difficult and subjective, to say the least. However, we have witnessed some organizations calculating someone’s significance using monitory indicators. For instance, Forbes equated the net worth of Bill Gates 59 Billion Dollars as of 2011.

Nonetheless, computing the net worth of individuals based on their money and assets is subtle and inaccurate- they worth more than that! How much worth Bill Gates had when he was a seventeen years old teen, before the formation of Microsoft? Not enough to attract the attention of organizations like Forbes and Wikipedia since he didn’t manifest his true worth yet. Bill Gates might be the only person, perhaps Paul Allen- the co-founder of Microsoft, who believed in him as a future billionaire worthy of global recognition.

When Mandela became the President of post Apartheid South Africa, many journalists and biographers were interested to know whether he had anticipated becoming the first black president while in jail. Of course, Mandela denied it maybe because he didn’t remember it. Or perchance, as heroic as he is humble, he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. Otherwise, some of his jail-mates and colleagues acknowledged that he carried himself as if he would lead his country one day. They shared some of his statements that implied that he had faith to come out of jail and lead South Africa.

For more than twenty-seven years, many of his jailers might have thought that he was just a prisoner, and valued him as nobody. That didn’t matter! What mattered was, while still in jail under an oppressive regime, it was the self-worth Mandela had kept him hopeful, optimistic, and persistent. This in turn helped him outlast Apartheid and witness its demise, and most importantly became the leader who made the transition from minority rule to democracy possible and smooth. His exemplary leadership saved the pending destruction, and transformed the divided South Africa into a multi-colored nation.

Let me give you another example close to home. Many who met and shake hand with Haile Gebrsellassie while he was on the road running to and from his school in Arsi, how much price do you think they would have assigned on him? I don’t think they valued him as a prospective world-class athlete. Did their assessment of Haile’s worth matter? Big no! What mattered was his perception of himself. The latter is the one that has carried him all the way from obscurity to a sport hero loved by Ethiopians and the world at large.

The above three leaders aren’t exceptional. They are the tip of the iceberg. There are many investors, educators, artists, authors, and politicians who didn’t buy into the faulty opinions of others concerning their self-worth. It didn’t stop them from actualizing their true worth. For example, Albert Einstein was considered dull in his early stage of schooling and told that he won’t have a modest career. Look how far he had come. He is one of the most celebrated scientists who have ever lived on earth.

What about Helen Keller? How much worth people tagged on her as she grew up as deaf-blind person? Her tenacious personality against all odds, and the support of her families and teacher- Anne Sullivan finally yielded her ultimate self-worth. She became a renowned author, political activist, and lecturer. Her story of triumph over disability has been inspiring millions, if not billions.

The lesson from the above stories is that we shouldn’t value ourselves at any given stage of our life based on our bank account and possessions at hand. We shouldn’t also be tempted to misgauge others on what they own financially and materially. Most importantly, we should keep our ultimate true worth deep in our heart, and never let others quantify our state of importance according to our possessions right now.

The truth of the matter is that if a person doesn’t believe in himself, chances are high that he doesn’t even try to amount anything. What is more? If that person doesn’t believe in himself, no one does!

Therefore, it is important to have a healthy self-worth.  How we see ourselves determines who we would become at the end of the day. Not only that, having a wrong perception about ourselves doesn’t harm us alone. If we don’t value ourselves well, we most probably don’t value others. Those leaders we know of, who are abusive and manipulative, are those who don’t have correct self-worth. Since they don’t rate themselves appropriately, they fail to recognize and respect the worth of the people under their influence. You cannot give to others what you don’t dare to give for yourself. Your value for yourself has a direct relation to your value to others around you. 

But I am not advocating self-inflation. It should be an honest and candid self-awareness. We should know both our strengths and weaknesses. We should pin point our unique place within our community and organization, and give out our best service using this uniqueness. Each and every one of us should portray our unique roles for collective fulfillment. Nonetheless, we should be humble enough to know that we don’t amount any thing without the help of others, and therefore, we should value people as we do value ourselves, even more.

Brief bio of the author:

Assegid Habtewold (Dr.) is the lead coach, consultant, and facilitator at Success Pathways, LLC. He is also the author of “Redefining Leadership: Navigating the Path from Birthright to Fulfillment in Life!” For more information about his book, please visit https://successpws.com

Note: This article was published on the February edition of ZEthiopia, a monthly newspaper. Due to word count limit, some of the paragraphs above couldn’t be included within the article published on the newspaper.