A Leader's Gift
Read in 13 min.
Listen in 16 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Barry Banther

A Leader's Gift

Becoming a leader through mutual trust and listening

A Leader’s Gift provides an interesting and unique perspective on the art of leading people. According to Barry Banther’s theory, a real leader represents a gift to their colleagues, and they must behave as such. The concept of the gift is fitting if we think of how important it is to build relationships around trust and teamwork, which are both based on the act of giving. Knowing how and when to give our time, actively listen, or be involved in the lives of other people are key qualities of an effective leader. Leaders who ‘gift’ their time will receive a great deal of recognition and appreciation in return, but will also get the gift of seeing their associates succeed.

A Leader's Gift
Read in 13 min.
Listen in 16 min.

Leadership is not so much about doing, as being, and it is a process that involves the whole person

Learning to lead is a complex task, and although we are not born leaders, we may nonetheless have a natural inclination towards this type of role. Leading and commanding are two very different, almost opposite, activities. The main difference is that leaders do not give orders, but guide and show people the way. In addition to ensuring that employees get certain jobs done, it is extremely important that leaders have the ability to enable everyone they meet to grow, as well as being able to bring out the best in other people, which is far from easy.

At the age of 27, Banther found himself at the head of a large company. He had been chosen for his technical abilities, but was lacking human skills, and his limited experience meant he tended to act like a boss. Over time, and as he gained experience, he realised how important it is to work as a team, rather than simply giving orders, and so he began to strive to become a better person. This awakening also led Banther to explore the concept of leadership further, and he began to see that it is an excellent opportunity for both personal as well as professional growth.

The first issue he had to reassess was the difference between doing and being, and the fact that a leader is not someone who just orders other people around, but who guides them to action through continuous motivation, in an active process of research and growth.

Banther realised that, while his somewhat closed attitude had allowed him to achieve a prestigious position, it had also forced him to face the lonely experience of only thinking of himself. He had unknowingly sabotaged his relationship with his team, by issuing commands without asking their opinion, and supervising them without allowing for dialogue. While they did what he asked, they did so half-heartedly.

When Banther saw the potential risks of his behaviour, he realised that he needed to be the first to change, and start giving, instead of just asking. He knew that somehow he had to make a change, or at the very least, invest more time in getting to know his team. He understood that the only way to build relationships based on trust and collaboration, and achieve long-term success, was to put other people first on his list of priorities. From that moment on, Banther began to observe, study, and commit to making a big shift in approach.


The key ideas of "A Leader's Gift"

Leadership is not so much about doing, as being, and it is a process that involves the whole person
Every great leader has a gift, which allows them to be loved and followed
The secret to great leadership is to put other people first
Recording daily updates in a notebook helps us to become more conscious leaders
Sharing the gift means mastering the art of encouragement
Leadership influences all areas of our life, not just at work
Take-home message
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