Should a Leader be a Follower First?

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Introduction

To be a leader requires that one must be a good follower. But this requirement would depend on the circumstances on how the person becomes a leader in business. A person can become an instant leader of a business empire by succession.

There is basically two types of becoming a leader. One is by ascription or by birth and the other is by achievement. An ascribed leadership is acquired through inheritance or succession. Usually the heir is a child or spouse of a recognized leader in a particular business enterprise. After the business leader died or retired, the spouse or child becomes the heir of the established business and assumes the leadership of the business.

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For instance, the Norwegian heiress Alexandra and Katharina Andresen, who are 21 and 22 years respectively, became the youngest billionaires in the world for the third year in a row, after their father, Johan H. Andersen, transferred ownership of their family’s investment company, Ferd, to them in 2007. In such a young age, they instantly become the established leader in the investment business  of their country.

Fern sisters

Photo: Alexandra (21 years old) and Katharina (22 years old), world’s youngest billionaires (courtesy of businessinsider.com)

The other way of being a business leader is by achievement. This type of leadership is common in our current global and technological age. The candidate usually achieves success and leadership in a particular field of business by hard work, dedication,and achievement. This person usually does not come from a rich or landed class. Some come from humble beginnings. Others are even college dropouts such as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg. Some studies have shown that there is no direct correlation between academic excellence in school and success in doing business. Not all billionaires  graduated with summa cum laude or with high honors in college, but they are usually creative people, smart and have a strong passion in actualizing their niches and goals in business. These people are usually  self-made billionaires.

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“The youngest self-made billionaire is John Collison of Stripe, age 27. He cofounded the payments startup with older brother Patrick Collison, who at 29 is also one of the youngest billionaires. Stripe’s most recent fundraising round in November 2016 valued the company at $9.2 billion; the brothers are each worth $1 billion. John Collison is just a few months younger than Snap cofounder and CEO Evan Spiegel.”

Leadership by ascription or succession does not necessarily requires to be a good follower before becoming a leader in  his/her business empire or firm. Without fully knowing the “rules of the game” or actual operations of the firm in the lower echelon of the company, s/he leads the business by succession.

Enrique Razon

Photo: Enrique Razon, leader in port-handling business (courtesy of Forbes.com)

Leadership by achievement requires the aspirant to be a good follower become s/he becomes the recognized leader of his/her chosen niche in business. One of the top 10 riches Filipino in the Philippines, Enrique Razon (Networth: $4.3 billion), started as a crane operator as a young man in his father’s port-handling business. He allegedly dropped out of school to study his father’s business operations. In a television interview, he attributed the expansion of the business to this experience of being an ordinary worker of the firm. He was literally a follower and servant and worked his way up in his father’s firm. He obeyed his managers and the rules of his own business. As a result, he learned the various aspects of the business. When his father died, Enrique Razon took over the business and went beyond. And because he was a faithful follower, he learned the “rules of the game” and became a new leader by achievement in port-handling business. His business has even become a multinational and engaged other forms of trade, such casino and resort business.

henry sy

Photo: Henry Sy, the richest Filipino businessman, leader in retail and mall business (courtesy of Forbes.com)

Another great Filipino who became the leader in retail business in the Philippines by being a good follower is Henry Sy, the richest Filipino according to Forbes Magazine. he started his business by selling shoes as an ambulant vendor. Before becoming the leader in retail and mall business, he was a true disciple of retailing. Because of his dedication and persistence, he became the leader of his chosen business niche by achievement.

What type of business leader you want to be?

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Photo credit: Pexels.com free photos, Forbes.com, and businessinsider.com

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to like, comment, and share this post! Cheers and best wishes! AMDG.

 

References

Au-Yeung, A. (6 March 2018). “The World’s Youngest Billionaires In 2018: Meet The 63 Under Age 40”. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/angelauyeung/2018/03/06/youngest-billionaires-under-40-2018/#60d61c86729a.

Top 5 Biblical Passages for Christian Business Leaders

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1. Mark 10:43-45

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This passage from the Gospel of Mark is considered the central image of a Christian leader– a suffering servant. A leader who serves his/her constituents rather than being served by them. Leadership in the Christian sense is service for the sake of the Kingdom and self-emptying to empower others.

Under this model, the leader does not seek glory and power for his/her self but to promote and protect the common good even if this entails dying to one’s self and disregarding his/her self-interest.

In Catholic Church’s teaching, doing business is a form of service to God and people–the customers. Its ultimate goal is not really profiteering but serving the public by providing consumers with high-quality goods and services in order that they can enjoy the fruits of God’s creation.

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A good and Christian leader must then strive to become a servant of God in the business organization, providing the public with quality goods and services.

As managers, they must not abuse their discretionary powers in the workplace but instead empower others to become servants and leaders too in their respective duties and areas of responsibilities.

2. Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves..”

This passage from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians can remind business leaders not to seek selfish ambitions or vain conceit. They must be humble, always conscious that positions of power in the business organization is temporary and meant for service.

Selfish ambition or conceit in the business organization can lead to unhealthy competition, politics, and sidelining of the corporate values just to get ahead of others in the promotion system.

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3. 1 Timothy 3:2

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Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach…”

This passage reminds business leaders to walk the talk, to witness what they preach in the workplace. A good and Christian leader is one who always provides a good example for others to follow.

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4. Proverbs 27:23-24

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“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;  for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”
Business leaders must not be only conscious about their position of power and authority, of the benefits and rewards they could get if they perform well in the company.
They must, first of all, know the real conditions of their employees in the workplace. They should check whether they are properly remunerated with a just wage by the company.
Corporate productivity is often tied up with the level of satisfaction of the workers with their wage and social benefits.
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5. Isaiah 41:10

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“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

In Church’s teachings, work is connected with one’s spirituality: A leader’s duty and role in the company must be part of his/her spiritual life.

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A Christian leader is one who is always conscious that the work of managing others in the workplace is part of his/her quest for salvation. Sanctification is not only expressed inside the Church but anywhere since God’s presence is everywhere. Thus, if business leaders are always aware of God’s presence in the workplace, he/she would never be fearful in his decisions and actions.

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Why is Red Attractive to Business?

Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net
Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net
First of all, the meaning of colors in society is cultural. Color goes beyond appearance but generates a cultural experience. It reminds one of his/her experience and social upbringing in society. It offers an instantaneous visual way to associate meaning to a particular individual, company or industry. People from various cultures give different meaning and interpretation to colors. And the color red is one of the primary colors which can have different meanings to individuals in society. In urban societies, red is a dominant and attention-grabbing color. Just look around and you will see red in people’s clothes, billboards, cars, buildings, logos, etc. Red is an energetic and vivid influence within the business and romantic world. In general, people associate many positive things to the color. Let us cite some few things in business where red is highly valuable and desirable.
Color Red in Business
Red is generally a “warm” color. “Red” holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day are often associated with warmth, love, and giving. Some entrepreneurs capitalize on the popularity of red to improve their sales and business. Coca-Cola is the most popular and biggest-selling soft drink in history, as well as one of the most recognizable brands in the world and the color of its name and logo is red. Created in 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia, by Dr. John S. Pemberton, Coca-Cola was first offered as a fountain beverage at Jacob’s Pharmacy by mixing Coca-Cola syrup with carbonated water. Coca-Cola was patented in 1887, registered as a trademark in 1893. In 1899, Coca-Cola began franchised bottling operations in the United States and in 1906 bottling operations for Coca-Cola began to expand internationally.
There is a popular theory about color in China. China’s emperor has a theory of the five elements to select a color. The color green stands for wood, red stands for fire, yellow for earth, white for metal and black for water. And the color red symbolizes luck and happiness. Chinese people believe that red can be a sign of joy and fortune. That is why the Chinese New Year and other official or traditional holidays are full of red. Also, any older people or people that have been married usually give red envelope as red is a sign of good luck.The choice of color in business logos can speak a lot about the company’s brand.
Close your eyes and think about the color of the name Coca-Cola or Coke is black, would you think that the company will reach its prestige today had it not been red in color? Or if McDonald’s famous golden arches were had been gray? Would the burger chain be the international success it is today? Color is a key part of any brand. “Whether your logo is red and intense, yellow and joyful or black and mysterious, its colors are announcing something to the customer. Take note that red, maroon, yellow, and orange are hot colors. Thus, McDonald’s use of yellow-gold for its arches since they are selling hot burgers and meals.
Products that need heat or suggesting something sexy or romantic must use hot colors; thus, red for Valentine’s day products such as cards and ribbons. Blue, purple, and green are cool colors. Therefore, cool products such as drinks and refreshers or deodorant and related products must use cool colors to convey the nature of the firm’s goods. As a company creates the perfect logo, it must sure to pay attention to the color messages they’re sending.” Take a look at the following highly popular logos and you will notice that they mostly are in red:
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Reference:
https://www.fatrabbitcreative.com/blog/psychology-of-the-color-red-and-what-it-means-for-your-business2. Entrepreneur, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232401.
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Corporate Leadership is Cultural

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The ideal leader and leadership would depend a lot on the type of culture or corporate culture in business. Culture is a way of life of a society or business organization. The best leader is one who can mirror the corporate ideals or mission-vision of a business organization. Thus, if the business organization is selling cars of a particular country, then the ideal leader is one who knows best about the car industry and the mission-vision and corporate goals of his/her own company on how to promote and sell its cars to its chosen niche. The ideal leader of Ford, for instance, is one who knows by heart the American car tradition and corporate values of his/her company.

Discretionary Powers of Business Leaders

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All managers and business leaders have discretionary powers. What separates them from ordinary clerks or rank-and-file employees are their capacities to decide what to do for the good or bad of the company. Some leaders made bad decisions and inflict damage to the company not so much because they are evil or immoral people who were not screened properly by the management but because there is loose law enforcement system in the corporate culture. The brightest and efficient leader can commit illegal and illegitimate decisions if the checks and balances system of the company is loose and “toxic”. This reflects the type of leadership structure and culture of the organization. A rational and efficient corporate culture encourage transparent and charismatic leadership and provides a strong monitoring system. A company cannot expect its managers to be efficient and good leaders if the leadership structure, particularly the law enforcement system is weak. Business leaders have vast discretionary power and authority. And if these powers are not reined efficiently, the leadership style would be prone to abuse.

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There are basically two ways of strengthening the law enforcement system of the company. The first one is the strengthening of the internal control of the various levels and types of personnel in the company. This can be achieved by strengthening the social bonds of the various social groups in the company through community building activities and programs. A strong social bonding can inhibit corporate deviance, making each employee a brother’s keeper. Spiritual programs too can strengthen corporate bonding of employees and managers.

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The second form is empowering the monitoring and surveillance system of the company. If the social bonding is weak, external control is necessary to monitor abuses of corporate leaders. Putting up monitoring devices can be a great help to policy and law enforcement in the company. Regular evaluations by employees on the performance of their managers can also be of great help to monitor the performance of corporate leaders.

But law enforcement in the company can be of two types. It can be positive by providing incentives to people who perform well in the company and exceed corporate expectations. People respond to incentives. Thus, it is necessary for leaders to achieve higher goals rather mere obedience to the company rules and targets.

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The second and the most common type of law enforcement is, of course, strengthening the rules, sanctions, and punishments to those who commit corporate deviance. This is the negative approach which causes a lot of conflict and distrust in the company and makes managers and leaders despotic. It is often desirable to use the positive approach by providing attractive incentives to those who follow rules and exceed corporate goals and targets.

Photo Credits: Pexels.com/Pixabay.com

Is the Church Against the Capitalist System?

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When the social encyclical Centesimus Annus by Pope John Paul II was published in 1989 on the occasion of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, some people in the press and the media have reported that the Pope has finally become a capitalist. By endorsing some positive as aspects of capitalism, the neo-liberalists and advocates of free trade thought that capitalism is a better economic system than socialism, the system adopted by many communist countries.

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These reports are misleading if one reads the texts of the encyclical. In Centesimus Annus, the Pope praises some positive traits of capitalism but he also condemns its excesses. He never endorses capitalism as the victorious economic model over socialism that developing countries ought to follow to achieve true economic and civil progress. The Pope’s answer to the query whether capitalism is the indeed the preferred system or not is with qualification. He says:

The answer is complex. If by capitalism is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, the answer is certainly in the affirmative…But, if by ‘capitalism,’ is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality and sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative (Centesimus Annus, n. 42).

What the Pope is praising in capitalism is its recognition of the positive role of business, the market, private ownership and free human creativity in the economy. These traits are obviously lacking in a socialist system where the state largely controls the business sector and private ownership and impedes freedom of its citizens to engage in business. However, the Pope qualifies his endorsement in the text. These traits are only praiseworthy if they are circumscribed within a strong juridical framework. In other words, the Pope is recommending that brand of capitalism that provides an effective and strong state intervention which is sufficient to regulate unbridled and unscrupulous capital accumulation in order to protect the common good from the excesses of free enterprise.

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A type of capitalism such as liberal or neo-liberal capitalism that lacks state intervention in protecting the common good from abuses of free trade, big business, and the free market is what the Pope rejected.  Pope John Paul II calls the latter as “idolatry of the market” that jeopardizes the common good. To him, “[e]conomic activity, especially the activity of a market economy, cannot be conducted in an institutional, juridical or political vacuum. On the contrary, it presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public service. Hence the principal task of the State is to guarantee this security so that those who work and produce can enjoy the fruits of their labors and thus feel encouraged to work efficiently and honestly” (Centesimus Annus, n. 48).

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The Pope, however, clarified that this state intervention must not be absolute and encompassing–such in the case of communist countries–so as not to curtain people’s freedom to engage in business. The primary responsibility in overseeing and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector belongs not to the State but to individuals and to various groups and associations that make up society (CA 48).

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The State’s duty in this sphere is only to sustain business activities by creating conditions which will ensure job opportunities where they are lacking or by supporting them in moments of crises (Ibid). It has also a duty to dismantle monopolies that create delays or obstacles to development. It can also exercise a substitute function when social sectors or business systems are too weak or are just getting underway, and are not equal to the task at hand. However, this supplementary intervention that protects the common good must be brief as possible “so as not to remove from society and business systems the functions which are properly theirs, and so as to avoid enlarging excessively the spheres of State intervention to the detriment of both economic and civil freedom” (Ibid).

 

Is Corporate Culture Abstract?

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In a business organization, culture is synonymous with corporate or company culture. It refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature. It is somewhat like ‘the operating system’ of the organization. It guides how employees think, act and feel. As such, corporate culture is an essential component in any business’s ultimate success or failure.

Culture as a Socially Learned Systems

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Despite the diversity of cultural perspectives, one thing is common with regard to culture: culture is a socially-learned system in society or social organization, not a natural and biologically-determined reality. Thus, if culture is a socially learned system, then it can be changed and unlearned. It’s not fixed and immutable as many thought it to be. In fact, with the current globalization age, corporate cultures in the world are changing so fast because of cultural diffusion brought about by the transnational operation of a business, merger, acquisition, outsourcing, and networking of companies or multinational corporations. The major issue, therefore, is not whether a culture can be changed or not, but whether the person or group who wants to change it, particularly a toxic culture, has sufficient resource, influence, and political will to effect the intended change. Take note that culture change in a business organization can originate from the top with business owners and top managers initiating the change, or from below with organized groups or workers initiating the change. In the case of a merger, the change can come from an outside force, especially if the mother company is much bigger than the acquired firm.

Corporate Culture as a Lived Experience

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Corporate culture is, therefore, a lived experience. It affects both the cognitive and material or behavioral aspects of people’s lives. It affects the workers’ social and economic life in the firm. If the firm, for instance, often delays the release of salaries due to bad management, the rank-and-file employees and their families would literally starve. Or if the firm does not provide skills training or career development for its employees and managers, the company’s productivity and brand can be affected. The point here is: Culture is not just an abstract reality, but, above all, a lived reality that affects all the members of a corporate community.

Three Persons Sitting on the Stairs Talking With Each Other

As a lived experience, corporate culture is experiential. Its totality could not be described on paper since it is the entire way of life of a particular business organization. It can only be fully understood and felt by people if they are immersed in it, participating in its day-to-day activities for a considerable period of time. Once people become regular members of the company as employees or managers and actively interacting with people, structures, and rules, they would soon discover the firm’s basic cultural patterns.  Thus, people could not fully understand and appreciate the generosity of Google’s corporate culture to its employees and managers if they are not part of the internal culture of the company.

This internal view of the corporate life by insiders is what anthropologists call as the emic perspective (insider’s view). Job seekers who do not have any idea of the inner workings of the internal culture of the hiring company may soon be discouraged or shocked if they discover as new employees that the corporate image of their new employer as projected in the social or mass media is not what they actually live or experience inside the company. Thus, acquiring an internal knowledge of a corporate culture can only be understood if one is part of the corporate community. Nonmembers can only gain the etic (observer’s perspective) or external knowledge of the firm’s culture. Only insiders such as employees and managers can feel and understand the basic patterns of their corporate culture as they belong to the firm’s corporate structure.

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An outsider or visitor may discover partially some of the firm’s cultural traits from afar but could not discover and live its basic cultural patterns and inner dynamics. But for an insider, a corporate culture can become too familiar to him or her that he or she can label its corporate culture as “toxic”, “employee-friendly” or”damaged”. Of course, these terms do not totally capture the complex patterns of the company’s culture, but they provide people an overall image on how to describe the basic cultural orientation of the firm. They can become a useful guide for top managers in changing or reforming the corporate life of the firm as well as for recruiters in selecting applicants who can fit into the corporate culture of the hiring firm.

Conclusion

Corporate culture is, therefore, not purely an abstract thing, but a lived reality. It may appear as an abstract reality mentally at the onset. But when one participates in the firm’s daily life, corporate culture becomes a “real” thing that affects the mental and physical life of people inside and even outside the company. It becomes the basic mold that shapes the corporate lives of employees and managers as long as they remain members of the business organization. Corporate culture is therefore like ‘the operating system’ of the business organization that guides people and employees on how to think, act, and feel inside the company.

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

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Should a Leader be a Follower First?

once upon a time lost girl GIF

Introduction

To be a leader requires that one must be a good follower. But this requirement would depend on the circumstances on how the person becomes a leader in business. A person can become an instant leader of a business empire by succession.

There is basically two types of becoming a leader. One is by ascription or by birth and the other is by achievement. An ascribed leadership is acquired through inheritance or succession. Usually the heir is a child or spouse of a recognized leader in a particular business enterprise. After the business leader died or retired, the spouse or child becomes the heir of the established business and assumes the leadership of the business.

the seventh seal GIF

For instance, the Norwegian heiress Alexandra and Katharina Andresen, who are 21 and 22 years respectively, became the youngest billionaires in the world for the third year in a row, after their father, Johan H. Andersen, transferred ownership of their family’s investment company, Ferd, to them in 2007. In such a young age, they instantly become the established leader in the investment business  of their country.

Fern sisters

Photo: Alexandra (21 years old) and Katharina (22 years old), world’s youngest billionaires (courtesy of businessinsider.com)

The other way of being a business leader is by achievement. This type of leadership is common in our current global and technological age. The candidate usually achieves success and leadership in a particular field of business by hard work, dedication,and achievement. This person usually does not come from a rich or landed class. Some come from humble beginnings. Others are even college dropouts such as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg. Some studies have shown that there is no direct correlation between academic excellence in school and success in doing business. Not all billionaires  graduated with summa cum laude or with high honors in college, but they are usually creative people, smart and have a strong passion in actualizing their niches and goals in business. These people are usually  self-made billionaires.

pexels-photo-618613.jpeg

“The youngest self-made billionaire is John Collison of Stripe, age 27. He cofounded the payments startup with older brother Patrick Collison, who at 29 is also one of the youngest billionaires. Stripe’s most recent fundraising round in November 2016 valued the company at $9.2 billion; the brothers are each worth $1 billion. John Collison is just a few months younger than Snap cofounder and CEO Evan Spiegel.”

Leadership by ascription or succession does not necessarily requires to be a good follower before becoming a leader in  his/her business empire or firm. Without fully knowing the “rules of the game” or actual operations of the firm in the lower echelon of the company, s/he leads the business by succession.

Enrique Razon

Photo: Enrique Razon, leader in port-handling business (courtesy of Forbes.com)

Leadership by achievement requires the aspirant to be a good follower become s/he becomes the recognized leader of his/her chosen niche in business. One of the top 10 riches Filipino in the Philippines, Enrique Razon (Networth: $4.3 billion), started as a crane operator as a young man in his father’s port-handling business. He allegedly dropped out of school to study his father’s business operations. In a television interview, he attributed the expansion of the business to this experience of being an ordinary worker of the firm. He was literally a follower and servant and worked his way up in his father’s firm. He obeyed his managers and the rules of his own business. As a result, he learned the various aspects of the business. When his father died, Enrique Razon took over the business and went beyond. And because he was a faithful follower, he learned the “rules of the game” and became a new leader by achievement in port-handling business. His business has even become a multinational and engaged other forms of trade, such casino and resort business.

henry sy

Photo: Henry Sy, the richest Filipino businessman, leader in retail and mall business (courtesy of Forbes.com)

Another great Filipino who became the leader in retail business in the Philippines by being a good follower is Henry Sy, the richest Filipino according to Forbes Magazine. he started his business by selling shoes as an ambulant vendor. Before becoming the leader in retail and mall business, he was a true disciple of retailing. Because of his dedication and persistence, he became the leader of his chosen business niche by achievement.

What type of business leader you want to be?

leader leadership GIF by Dr. Donna Thomas Rodgers

Photo credit: Pexels.com free photos, Forbes.com, and businessinsider.com

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to like, comment, and share this post! Cheers and best wishes! AMDG.

 

References

Au-Yeung, A. (6 March 2018). “The World’s Youngest Billionaires In 2018: Meet The 63 Under Age 40”. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/angelauyeung/2018/03/06/youngest-billionaires-under-40-2018/#60d61c86729a.