Growth Leadership Thought

Measuring Your Listening Quotient

Every great leader is a good listener. We have emphasized overtime the importance of communication in leadership development. I have learnt – through the absence of communication – how a community of vibrant thoughtful minds can become disengaged and moribund.

Listening Quotient

In as much as communication is important, listening is more important. Communication is faulty, if listening is phorny or ingenuine. I have witnessed several occasions when hearing, rather than listening is the order of the day. Thus, the essence of this post to challenge us to evaluate our listening quotients.

So, how do you measure your listening quotient? My formula for listening quotients is strength of active listening divided by unit time.

For my friends, who likes mathematics – only for the spelling, let me deviate from the mathematical expression and  highlight some key elements of active listening.

When listening to the next person that speaks with you, watch the quality of attention you give out. Let it be said about you that ‘S/He listened to me like I’m the only person in the world, at that time’. Guide your attention.

One of the greatest gift you can give is your sincere and loving self. It is said that people do not care what you know until they know how much you care.

Minding your body
Body language plays an important role when listening actively to someone. Position your body, eye movement to be in unison with what your mind speaks which is ‘I care, I am listening’. Nothing is more disappointing that observing that the person you are speaking with is hearing (not listening) what you are saying and his body communicating his absence.

It is necessary to be true to yourself and whoever you are discussing with. If circumstances will impede you actively listening to anyone, tell the person with all modest sincerity and love.

Listening is critically essential!

Question: Looking back into the last few discussions you had with anyone, how effective did you actively listen? If you were told to calculate your listening quotient, what percentage will you be rated? What other element did I not mention?

Let’s connect on Twitter or Facebook.

Leadership Thought

Reflective Thinking: How Often Do You Think?

I know you think! And you know / think you think. However, how much time do you dedicate to reflect on your life – your actions, inactions, values, achievements, frailties, prospect and the future? How often do you examine the pace – most importantly, the impacts – you create each day?
These questions remind us of the ever-dynamic need to consciously and consistently examine how we live (not just existing) daily. As the Greek philosopher, Socrates opined, ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’. A few days ago, I shared an opinion with IdeaMensch on my most productive habit as a social entrepreneur – and human :). Guess what that is: reflective thinking.
Each day, I become more conscious of the need to do more than just setting out time to consciously think, but to make it fun, and more productive. This daily action makes me get the best in almost every activity. The choice of reflectively having fun thinking through all my actions and plans makes me review promptly where I had made a mistake, where I can contribute more, what lessons I learnt, how I can put the lessons to use, what to share with others, among other options.
Fortunately, my parents had inculcated a maxim into our daily lives, while we (my nuclear family) were much younger. My dad taught my siblings and me to always end each day asking ‘How Many Lives Have I Touched Positively Today?’. This bed-time activity – I must confess – had been a foundation for reflective thinking.
One of the major catalysts to reflective thinking is asking the right questions. The right questions – coupled with honestly sincere answers – have a way of enhancing your reflective thinking prowess and adding value to the quality of life you live. Most times, when I reflect, I think in terms of my values, activities, experience and futurity.
I suggest you brace up with the type of questions you ask yourself, and be honest in working on the quality of result you can get, by working on your answers. As John Maxwell shared in his book ‘Thinking for a Change’, you could reflectively think about – just as he does – your values, relationship and experiences.
          Personal Growth: What have I learnt today that will help me grow? How can I apply it to my life? When should I apply it?
          Adding Value: To whom did I add value today? How do I know I added value to that person? Can I follow up and compound the positive benefit he or she received?
          Teamwork: What did I do with someone else that made both of us better? Would the other person agree that it was a win/win? Can we do something else together to continue our mutual success?
          Leadership: Did I lead by example today? Did I lift my people and organisation to a higher level? What did I do, and how did I do it?
          Physical Health: Did I exercise at my optimal heart rate for thirty-five minutes today? Have I exercised at least five times in the last seven days?
          Personal Faith: Did I represent God today? Did I practice the Golden Rule? Have I ‘walked the second mile’ with someone?
          Marriage and Family: Did I communicate love to [my spouse], children and the grandchildren today? How did I show love? Did they return it?
          Friends: Have I been a good friend this week? To whom? What did I do? Is there something else I need to do? Is there another friend who needs me?
          Inner Circle: Have I spent enough time with my key players? What can I do to help them be more successful? In what areas can I mentor them?
          God: Have I spent time with God? What is he teaching me now? Am I learning? Am I obeying? Have I continually talked to him today?
          Discoveries: What did I encounter today to which I need to give more thinking time? Are there lessons to be learned? Are there things to be done?
          Memories: Did I create a good memory for someone today? Was it because of a comment, an action, or a shared experience?
          Difficulties: What went wrong? Could I have changed it? What do I need to do differently next time?
      Successes: What went right? Did I create it? Is there a principle I can learn from the experience?
          People: Whom did I meet? What were my impressions?
          Conclusions: Have I closed my day appropriately? Have I expressed gratitude? Have I learned something, loved someone? Have I enjoyed and lived the day to the fullest?
Are the above questions helpful? You may add yours, or create different set of questions and methods to use in reflective thinking. Begin by creating general questions that can be used after any event, meeting or experience. Then create more specific questions related to your values and relationships. The main thing is to create questions that work for you, and write down any significant thought or insight that comes to you during the reflection time.
Before I conclude today’s post, please be reminded that though writing down the good thoughts that come out of your reflective thinking has value, nothing helps you grow than consciously putting your thoughts into action. Start setting out time for reflective thinking, stay away from distraction, ask yourself helpful questions and take prompt action.
I will love to read from you. Post your comment in the box below, or send me a mail (
How often do you engage in reflective thinking?
What impact does it have on you?

What questions do you ask when thinking reflectively?
Leadership Thought

Be Prepared for Leadership

A wake-up call has gone to youths to prepare themselves for leadership positions at all levels in order to make the positive changes the nation requires for development. Delivering a presentation at a 2-Day Studership 2.0 Leadership Summit held recently, the Team Leader, All for Development Foundation and a 400L Plant Physiology and Crop Protection (PPCP) student , Mr. Aanu Damola Morenikeji, described leadership not as a position, rank, privilege, title or money, but pure responsibility.
Be Prepared for Leadership - FUNAABite Tasks Youths
According to him, the qualities of an effective leader include having basic intelligence, clear and strong values, high levels of personal energy, the ability and desire to grow constantly, vision, curiosity and a good memory. Alluding to the maxim which says, “the future has no shelf life”, future leaders will need a passion for continual learning, a refined, discerning ear for the moral and ethical consequences of their actions and an understanding of the purpose of work and human organisations”. He advised the youths to be mindful of their character as competence would get them to the top, while character would keep them there.
Be Prepared for Leadership - FUNAABite Tasks Youths
Mr. Morenikeji added that the four things that stand leaders out are: having a clear idea of what they want to achieve and why. Secondly, leaders change the way people think and not just the way people do things, as well as living up to expectation when there is a crisis or special problem.
The Fellow of the M121 Social Leadership Academy, USA, demystified the ‘Studership’ word to be a combination of students and leadership.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Professor Toyin Arowolo, advised the youths of the country to be resilient, adding that they must accept the responsibility of leadership.
The Vice-Chancellor encouraged Nigerian youths to make the most of their leisure, taking advantage of their time to engage in productive programmes, instead of idling away.
In his Goodwill Message, the Ogun State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Honourable Olugbenga Otenuga, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Youth Development, Mr. Salami Adetokunbo, commended the organisers for the well-organised summit.
Answering questions from FUNAAB Bulletin after the programme, one of the Participants, a member of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Ghana, Mr. Abdul Basit Osumanu, said “we face the same challenges of leadership in Africa. We have frustrated youths across Africa not trusting the leadership”. He, therefore, advised the youths saying “we need to trust whoever is leading us, adding that “the change we need should come from us”.
Also, Mr. Serge Kpoglo, a student at the University of Lome, Togo was elated to have been privileged to visit Nigeria for the first time and promised to share the knowledge gathered at the Summit with his colleagues back home.
Similarly, Mr. George Gambadatoun, a student at the National School of Applied Economics and Management, Cotonou, Republic of Benin, lauded the hospitality of Nigerians, a country he had visited thrice, saying that “I feel at home whenever I visit Nigeria”. He said his country shared a lot with Nigeria in terms of culture, dressing and language.

You may read the news from the source: Federal University of Agriculture’s website
The Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme was featured on the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta’s website. It is worthy of note that the summit was supported by the institution.
Leadership Thought

Making Your Days Here Count!

Exactly a week ago, i was sharing with some emerging leaders from across Nigeria, Ghana, Republic de Benin and Togo on ‘Integral Leadership’ at the #Studership 2.0 Leadership Summit (Pictures here).

I was delighted at the radiation of ‘senses’ of commitment as we exchanged ideas, on personal growth and leadership development – revolving around vision, values, ethics, passion for continuous learning and understanding purpose.

Like we do remind ourselves, that in everything we do, we (un)consciously sign our autographs. Make the unconscious conscious; what do you do to sign your autograph? Where/How do you sign it? It isn’t compulsory the autographs are conspicuous, but just MAKE YOUR DAYS HERE COUNT!

Later next week, we shall be having a guest post, related to the theme of leaving positive autographs, starting from the person sitting beside you.

Till then, I will be glad  to read from you, with much love!

Keep growing, keep leading!

t: @damolamore

Leadership Thought

Do you also believe these myths about leadership?

This week, during the online phase of the Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme, we took a different approach to our discuss, as some  top myths conceived and transmitted – over time – about leadership were shared and discussed.
As we grow, we had been exposed to several erroneous definition and attribute of leadership and concepts around the field. These opinions have, overtime, affected our views of, and action towards growth, effectiveness, efficiency and making positive change.
Some common myths about leadership we shared include the following;
1. Leadership is a rare skill.
Leadership is considered by some to be a rare skill, a skill possessed by a certain opportune set of people. While great leaders may be rare, everyone has leadership potential. Yes, most people in some way – whether conscious or not – are exercising leadership in a particular context. For example, you may find someone might be quiet and passive in their job, but quite bossy at home, or lead in conversation but not in formal meetings. Leadership opportunities are everywhere.
2. Leaders are born, not made.
On the commencement of the online discussions in the Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme, we deliberated on whether leaders were born or made. The major capacities and competencies of leadership can be learned, and we are all able to learn, at least if the basic desire to learn is there. Effective leadership is, however, is more than simply having the desire and enacting the ‘right’ behaviours, it needs to include a deep awareness of the impact of one’s behaviour on others. In turn, leadership development now needs to involve the development of the whole person, stressing self-awareness and balance in life (making the leader).
3. Leaders are Charismatic
Some are, most aren’t. Charisma is the result of effective leadership, not the other way around, and most who are good at leadership are granted a certain amount of respect and even awe by their followers, increasing the bond of attraction between them. Interest in charismatic and transformational leaders has been fuelled by the nature and strength of their emotional impact on others. In the past, leadership was conceived of in terms of transactional terms. Transactional leadership is characterised by mutually beneficial exchanges between two parties to optimize mutual benefit. While this model produces somewhat predictable outcomes, these are generally short-lived. The last two decades have seen an increasing interest in a new type of leadership:transformational leadership. Transformational leadership operates through tapping into followers’ deeper values and sense of higher purpose, and has been found to lead to higher levels of follower commitment and effort, as well as more enduring change. Transformational leaders provide compelling visions of a better future and inspire trust through seemingly unshakeable self-confidence and conviction.
4. Leadership exists only at the top of the organisation (e.g the boss)
Leadership is a choice you make, not a place you sit. Anyone can choose to be a leader wherever he is. In fact, the larger the organisation, the more leadership roles it is likely to have as people lead smaller groups within the whole. As John Maxwell puts it, leadership is influence. When emerging leaders understand the dynamics of gaining influence with people, they come to realise that position has little to do with genuine leadership. Do individuals have to be at the top of the orgaisational chart to develop relationship with others and get them to like working with them? Do they need to possess top leadership titles to achieve results and make people productive? Of course not. Influencing others is a matter of deposition, not position. You can make a difference no matter where you are. Lead, don’t manage.
5. The leader controls, directs, prods, manipulates.
Leadership, power and authority are linked – who gives the leader a mandate to lead is important. Leadership is not dictatorship. We should not view leaders as puppet-masters pulling the strings to make people move, but see the people as the ones that can decide to support, influence, change, defy or subvert the leaders. Power is held by the leader and the people they lead, and in the ideal situation, a good leader empowers the people to make changes to their community.
6. The greater your age, the better you are as a leader.
Leadership, is not valued based on age, but on commitment to growth. There is a major difference between growing and ageing; growth may be exponential, while ageing may follow numerical procedure (counted year after year). Without digressing, age is not a criteria for effective leadership, but vision, commitment, positive influence and growth.
Once these myths are cleared away, the question becomes not one of how to become a leader, but rather how to improve your effectiveness at leadership.
Let’s read from you;
  • What other myth is believed in your various communities/countries? Share with us.
  • Think of a real life situation where a leader made a positive difference. Did they act as managers or leaders? What behaviours did they show? What lessons about leadership can you take away from the life situation you have thought of?.


Aanu Damola Morenikeji is considered Africa’s youngest youth intellectual and leadership development advocate. A sought-after speaker on the theme of leadership and personal growth, he is an alumnus and fellow of the M121 Social Leadership Academy, U.S.A and founder of Studership Youth Leadership Academy – an initiative of All for Development Foundation [ADM-Foundation]. He blogs at and can be reached via
Leadership Thought

Nurtural versus Natural Leadership; Reflections from Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme

Last week was incredibly amazing!

The week started with an online engagement with participants of the Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme – emerging leaders from 38 countries in five continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America). It is believed that young people are the greatest assets of any nation, and our contribution to personal and global development is quintessential. As leaders however, we need to clarify, and identify where we stand, as we continue in the voyage of leadership, personal and global development.

In the realm of leadership study, questions of nature versus nurture of leaders have always been one of the frequently asked questions. In a similar vein, we asked ‘Are Leaders Born or Made?’, creating a poll with the options of ‘Leaders are Born’, ‘Leaders are Made’, and ‘Leaders are Born and Made’. After a thoughtful and enlightening session of conviction and explanation of diverse opinion, 12.9% of respondents opined that leaders are born, 16.13% opined that leaders are made while 70.97% of participants chose that leaders are born and made.

Personally, i believe that though the circumstance surrounding birth and upbringing may influence ‘certain traits’, leaders – depending on the context of definition of leaders – are born and made. Everyone has a potential for growth, if provided with the right resources, platform and unwavering commitment. The major difference between those born to occupy certain leadership/royal position and great leaders is the continuous self awareness and commitment to growth.

In furtherance of the concept behind this discuss, we advised – during our first broadcast held later in

the week – that as leaders, it is essential we have a vision. Theodore Hesburgh had advised that ‘the very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision’, a vision that is people-based, value-based and creates a mental illustration (picture) of a world that works for everyone – an illustration which you can clearly articulate in every situation. Apart from having a vision, another step to developing the leader in you is that you need to seek clarity on your values. Identify and live your life by core values; you may make a commitment to live by the values of integrity, responsibility, credibility, appreciation, ‘exemplarity’, among others.

To make this easy – but not easier – you may decide to start by writing an ‘ideal’ tribute to yourself; write the way you want to be seen by people, how you want your generation to see you, what you want history to record about you. Second, discover your ‘real’ self; be faithful to know where you are and where you stand. Understand who you are, what your passion is and where your strengths lie. Note the difference between WHO you are currently and who you aspire to be – as written. Third, make an action plan. Write your credo and stick to it.

Now the big questions; how conscious are you about yourself? Are you committed to your personal growth? Can you state your vision of a world that works for everyone? Are you living by your core values?

I’ll love to read from you.

Keep Growing, Keep Leading!
Aanu Damola Morenikeji is considered Africa’s youngest youth intellectual and leadership development advocate. A sought-after speaker on the theme of leadership and personal growth, he is an alumnus of the M121 Social Leadership Academy, U.S.A and founder of Studership Youth Leadership Academy – an initiative of All for Development Foundation [ADM-Foundation]. He blogs at and can be reached via
Leadership Thought

Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme Participants List Released

We are delighted to announce that after a careful review of several applications for participation in the Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme, motivation and resultant positive effects on communities around the world, One hundred and six (106) young leaders from thirty-eight countries have been globally selected to participate in the programme (list published on

Studership is a knowledge-based, activity-oriented and growth focused youth/student leadership academy that equips emerging leaders with leadership skills and knowledge, while broadening their understanding of personal development, leadership, sustainable change, and promoting / developing integrity and values-based leadership for practical, personal and professional application.

An initiative of All for Development Foundation [ADM-Foundation], the academy runs programmes aimed at helping emerging leaders discover themselves, deploy their own abilities, reach the height of their own capacities, refine their personalities, strengthen their leadership qualities/strategies, stimulate growth-oriented thinking and behaviour and contribute purposefully to societal development.

Important dates of the Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme, which is as follows;
  • 22nd July, 2013 – Online discussion begins
  • 29th July, 2013 – GrowthStudy commences
  • 30th August, 2013 – Submission of GrowthStudy review
  • 19th – 22nd September, 2013 – Studership 2.0 Leadership Summit in Abeokuta, Nigeria.
We appreciate everyone who applied to participate, recommended the programme for emerging leaders and everyone who had us in their prayers.

Best regards,
Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme Organising Team
Growth Leadership Thought

What are you learning from the Lion?

During a personal growth workshop, i studied and learnt from the visionary leadership of a lion. Though known as the king of the jungle, the lion knows that it wouldn’t be king forever if it doesn’t ‘mentor’ the next generation.

Lions travel in prides, the pride creates an environment suitable for mentoring cubs; the next generation of ‘kings’ and ‘queens’.

What are you doing to build the future? Learn from the lion.


Aanu Damola Morenikeji
13th June, 2013