I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion

by | Apr 9, 2022 | Blog


At Live2Lead Kigali 2021, we sought Dr. Donald Kaberuka’s wisdom on leadership and its role in making our continent and the world a better place.

In his response, he quoted Alexander the Great who said that, “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”

This is one of the best quotes that highlights how important leadership is. You see; it’s not about your technical expertise. And I will dare to say that it’s not about the team you lead. Only your leadership abilities will determine how successful you will be as a person or an organization. 

I have been a student of leadership for a while now, and I have come to believe without doubt that everything revolves around leadership. It is a no brainer; if you have a poor leader you will be a poor organization or a poor nation. It is that simple. Your office will not grow beyond your ability to lead; in other words, your organization cannot achieve greatness beyond your leadership ability. John Maxwell core philosophy is “everything rises and falls on leadership. 

Have you ever had a bad boss who made you doubt even your most brilliant professional track record? I clearly remember 2 distinct bosses I ‘ve had in the past that made a mark on my professional life. One was a boss under whose leadership the office faced difficult times and challenges in the overall performance, staff motivation, partnerships and for some reason everyone in the office seemed to be incompetent. I witnessed junior and senior staff resign, and I confirmed what is believed to be true that “people leave bosses not organization”. Looking at that turmoil, I knew deep down that something was very wrong but I could not put a finger on it. Years later, a new boss came on board, served the same office, same staff, same country programme but reaped amazing results; High performance, great staff morale, excellent partnerships and all of a sudden everyone was very competent. 

I had a moment of reflection and I asked myself, “what changed? Someone up there had changed, the leader had changed. It was from then that I became a conscious,  avid student of leadership. Here is the thing, no one plans  or aspires to be a bad boss! It is my opinion that for the most part, we don’t know what we don’t know. 

If you agree with Alexander the Great, then the questions to ask would be:

a) What am I doing today to develop my leadership potential?

b) What am I doing to develop those I lead?