5 not-so-popular qualities of Leaders (Book review)



As the name implies, the book is about 21 very important qualities leaders should possess or strive to possess. Each quality is explained under 4 different sections. A story explaining the quality as a moral to attain, a brief discussion on the quality isolated from the story, a short section adapting this quality to the reader as a leader in need of the character and lastly a small take away to work on to either develop or improve the quality being discussed.


Each quality is title of each chapter where they are dissected. Fortunately each chapter is short, hence the book can easily be run through faster than 21days but the author advises against such approach but suggests a more methodological and strategically, i might add, more reflective approach to the book. As I found out that even though, some qualities are not new or I already possess some, there’s still a good number that we need to either improve upon or develop as all of them work together to improve the kind of leader I become. Here are some of the not so popular ones I identified;

Generosity: I never figured that giving was essential to leadership but understanding that greed and leadership were huge contrasts helped put this in perspective. Giving also doesn’t always have to be money, it could be time, compliments, mentorship or even referrals.

Relationships: My husband has always quoted John C. Maxwell – “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”, well I never really understood it until I read about relationships as a quality to lookout for in leaders.

I was intrigued by the take-away activity which taught on how to assess your relationships as a leader.

red leader

Teachability: A leader never stops learning. This is huge because to be teachable we have to admit that we do not know everything and this can sometimes look bad but we have to crush our pride and I-have-arrived mentality to remain a relevant leader.

As long as you are green, you are growing; As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot – Ray Kroc


Servanthood: This does not apply only in spiritual parlance but everywhere leadership is found. Being a servant leader is not about position but about the attitude displayed in leading. Usually at the heart of it all, a servant leader is a secure one. One who is not only about the perks and power that comes with being a leader but one who is secure enough to give power to others.

“The law of empowerment says that only secure leaders give power to others.”


Self-discipline: As a leader, the first follower is one’s self. If you cannot lead yourself, you cannot lead others. The key to developing self-discipline is to challenge and eliminate all your excuses, follow your priorities and strive to maintain this new-found discipline.

Tosan’s take: I argued with some of the qualities when I first heard it at a training, but after reading this book and taking an isolated view on some of the qualities; I have learned that leaders have to constantly evolve, check and recheck themselves to make sure they can indeed influence and impact others positively and productively.

How to read (more) in 2018

New year, New goals. If reading or improved reading is one of yours, then this is for you. A timeless piece. **I strongly believe this will help, hence the repost**

I have never being a fan of “how-to” books; Like seriously, who writes a book to help you ‘read more’ in almost 200 pages. That’s like pushing your luck. Well Martin Udogie got really lucky with this one, not only was I able to get the cookie out of the book but I did it in hours not days or weeks Tosan A.

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Women: made for more than the ‘other’ room

I came across this book when I was on maternity leave with my first child, wondering if the workplace would still need me when I get back or if it was worth it to leave my bundle of joy for the hustle of work. It’s been 4 years since then and I am still growing strong in the workplace which may not have happened if I hadn’t read this book. It is for women who want to make impact and men who want to support that vision – Tosan A.



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Leadership lessons for CEOs from Queen Elizabeth 1



ELIZABETH 1 CEO: Strategic lessons from the leader who built an empire/ ALAN AXELROD/ PRENTICE HALL PRESS/2000/274PAGES

To be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see it than it is pleasant to them that bear it – All leaders would know that.

Elizabeth 1 CEO discusses the leadership and business management lessons that can be learnt from the Elizabethan era. In an era of male chauvinism, betrayals, sabotage, religious crisis, and easy/ flimsy executions (beheading), the survival and leadership lessons used by Elizabeth 1 are still very useful in today’s business scenes Continue reading “Leadership lessons for CEOs from Queen Elizabeth 1”

The New Age Seller

We are all salesmen whether our jobs explicitly says it or not, we are always selling or trying to sell something, we sell ourselves using our C.Vs to employers, we are selling the gospel to others, we always selling. Duct tape selling discusses the new rules to selling in the 21st century – the information age where brochures are almost extinct and sales people have to knock harder and on more doors to get even an audience much less close a saleTosan A.

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To be big or to be great?

‘Small Giants’ goes against everything I have ever heard about business growth, and It provides answers to numerous unanswered questions about how the future of a business can be decided. It reminds owners of the power they have concerning the future of their businesses – the power to CHOOSE – Tosan A.




Small Giants is about a study of companies who deliberately choose to remain ‘small’ (this is relative with respect to their fields and their ability to expand). Bo Burlingham identified a class of companies which did not fit into the popular classes of small, big or very big and decided to do more research of them especially since it was a deliberate and sometimes more active effort on the part of these companies to stay small. He selected 14 companies for his research and organised a field study on these companies, highlighting areas where they are similar and also their differences. Small Giants is the result of this study.


This book felt so real, it literally feels like we are actually on the field with the author listening live to the insightful answers to tough being asked to business owners and their teams – people, you may never meet anytime soon, hearing them tell their stories of how they faced the pressure of deciding when to grow and how fast to grow. I liked the author’s writing style as it was a combination of interesting stories gotten from interviews and the results of a field study of like-minded individuals and businesses. It was an interesting and a thoroughly educative one all in all.



  • Mojo: The first thing to note about Small Giants is the soul of the business – the mojo. The thing that endears it to its community – customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders. The uniqueness about a company that is sometimes inexplicable but is obviously noticeable.
  • The freedom to choose: I wouldn’t say this is entirely freedom but more like the responsibility to decide which way to go rather than been automatically led towards growth; deciding whose definition of success are we go by. It involves being intentional about business growth instead of being shaped by outside forces. This is focal point about Small Giants. It is about leaders exercising their rights to chart the future of their company and deliberately choosing not to grow big but to work at being excellent at what they do and enriching the lives of those in and around them – their physical and psychological environment.

Companies choosing to remain small rather than dilute ownership; companies who choose to maintain independence and control on the type of business that they become without much external input; businesses that choose to be champions in one geographical area rather than nobody in the world scheme of things; Businesses that care about quality, excellence, and heightened customer satisfaction; Companies that care about their roots and community – Small Giants

  • The culture of intimacy: Small Giants have very close ties with their communities which is very different from the usual corporate responsibility but one that is mutual in that both parties benefit from each other whilst also helping each other. There is also a high level of understanding and mutual affection among employees in the workplace where they are endeared to the business and not coerced to function. These companies have values that permeate through almost every sphere of their business which are very clear to all stakeholders.


Some pressures that business owners have to overcome or yield to as the business unfolds:

  • Socio-economic/ psychological: Everyone just assumes businesses are birth to become multinationals and make comments and/or push business owners towards that direction.
  • Owner’s personal ambition: This could easily be a fallout of the above point; when the society has expectations of you, it easily guides your personal goals for growing your business


  • Suppliers: As suppliers grow, they expect you to grow with them and align you with their growth plans.
  • Competitors: Being small sometimes mean that you lose your voice in the midst of bigger competitor because you are not big enough to be heard. You could also be downtrodden if you are too small to withstand the impact of the elephants in your field.
  • Opportunities: Opportunities that come in earlier than planned.
  • Employees: After having being round most units and stayed in the business for long, your best employees cannot see a growth path for their careers; when you stay small.
  • Customers: when your clients expect you to provide your unique solution to wherever they may find themselves in future (geographic) or to expand your products to meet their basket of needs (product expansion).


THE FUTURE OF SMALL GIANTS: Whilst Small Giants face the issue of effective succession since most of all the distinctness, excellence and mojo could be lost during the transition if bought or passed down to future generations; they are everywhere making impact on their community at large. They are around us, among us and growing with us if we only just looked a little closer.


Tosan’s take: I thoroughly enjoyed this book! You know when you just see a book that talks about all you have been trying to express but you seem to be alone on it. This is what Small Giants means to me. I have always asked my team the question – Should we strive to be Big or should be strive to be profitable? Although in our volume driven sector, this answer is not that straightforward, but this just goes a long way to validate my concerns in managing my business. Every business owner concerned about excellence or wants to maintain the original reason why they started the business should definitely read this book. For growing business owners out there, remember bigger isn’t always better.

How to move from Point A to Point B.

We are always looking for complex answers to our desire to change or achieve better results, maybe because we feel our needs are either complex or we just want to have access to the excuse that it was too complex that was why we could not achieve the desired changes. The latter may be why when we see simple answers, we are upset that the answers undermine our problems. Jack‘s recommended success principles are so simple that we could choose to either ignore them or just get into it right away – Tosan A.

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Tipping point

My first review with mixed feelings. It’s one of those books you hate to love. I was drawn to the book by one of the acclaims for the book about it being a good read for marketers, so I went in with expectations on how to tip my sales! I was initially unsure but I soon understood just how that was going to happen as I read through this knowledge- packed book. I enjoyed it – Tosan A.

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What do you have in your house?

As the economic recession deepens, a lot has been said about the need for multiple streams of income. The real question for some is what skills do I need to create these extra streams? This book helps you rephrase the question to one that helps you to be a great part of the solution – What do you have in your house? – Tosan A. Continue reading “What do you have in your house?”