How to become a Leader?

People tend to use the two terms “manager” and “Leader” interchangeably, but in reality they are two very different attributes.  “Managers do the right things, leaders do the things right”, I read this statement once and it really summarizes the difference. Managers’ main aim is to maximize output of the organization and to achieve this they must: Plan, Organize, Staff, Direct and Control.  Leadership is the most important quality to be able to direct.

How to become a leader?



It is partly a personal trait and partly acquired.  Some people are inspiring by nature, if you see someone and you find yourself following his steps and eager to become like him, then you found a leader. To be able to train yourself to become a leader you must:



  1. Make people trust you and make them know that you are someone they can depend on.
  2. Set an example, do everything you want others to do.  If you want your employees to come to office early, be the first one to arrive. If you want them to manage their time efficiently, set an example in time management and utilize your time to the best.
  3. Be approachable and accessible.  No one is too important to listen to his team and help them out when needed.  You must be available to be able to set the direction and lead.
  4. Praise on due time and criticize on due time.  And do not take credit for your team’s work.  Acknowledge their work with your customers and your managers.
  5. Know your team well and use the right way of communication with each member.  A leader always knows how to reach to every member of his team and use the right way to communicate with him and get things done.
  6. Focus on achieving your goals.  Do not force a way of working on your staff.  Focus on getting things done in whatever way they choose.  A leader cares for results not for the means used to reach those results.
  7. Make sure that every member of your team feels important.  A leader makes every team member feel that he is very important to get things done.  This way they become more motivated to exert more effort and excel.
  8. Take initiative to get things done. A leader inspires his team. By seeing him take initiative, they will start taking responsibility and getting things done.
  9. A leader has vision.  You have to know your vision and share it with your team to be able to achieve results. 

How to manage your manager

Just saw a video on BNET for Ed Muzio, CEO of Group Harmonics, saying that there is a simple recipe for every employee to make sure his managers do not make his life miserable. On the whole I liked it because it is very true but I suspect it works. 

To summarize what he said, “you need to follow the ICE model”.  ICE stands for Identify, Connect and Explain.  Which means:

  1. Identify who are the people who have expectations out of you. Not only your direct manager but maybe his manager, a customer, another manager in another department whom you are involved with in a project. Anyone who has expectations out of you and maybe authority to directly or indirectly reward or punish you.
  2. Connect with those people, open a clear communication channel with them and make them know you and know them well.
  3. Explain to all of them what you do exactly and let them all know the other pressures on you that they do not know.

He also said that you need to be:

  1. Predictable.  Your managers have to be able to know what to expect when they ask you to do something. 
  2. Reliable, so they know that if you say you will do something, you will do it.
  3. Responsible, which means they know that you are working even when they are not looking or checking on you.   

He says that if you are Predictable, Reliable and Responsible then they will trust you and once you build the trust they will not give you a hard time.

Here is the link fo those who are interested in seeing it:


I totally agree with what he said and in a perfect world it is very true.  But thinking about it sometimes you build the trust and you are Predictable, Reliable and Responsible and still your managers turn your life into hell.  And sometimes you connect and explain very well but they simply do not care!

So theoretically, if you follow the recipe above then your life will be great and your managers will not give you a hard time, which Ed Muzio called it “Managing people who manage you”

Unfortunately in our world there are a lot of sick people who take authority and no matter what you do they are never satisfied. 

I just thought I share this video with you because it is definitely useful and it will work well with you if your manager is not a psychopath or a control freak.

Customer Service double standards!!!!

I received the email below, describing a very obvious example of terrible customer service:

“Hi Everyone,

 I’d like to share a story that happened to me yesterday with you:

sequoia-logo Yesterday, me and a few friends decided that we want to go out today & wanted to go to Sequoia .. My friend called to reserve a table for today & they told her it’s all booked out. My other friend decides to give it a shot, and they tell her it’s all booked out on Thursday AND on Friday. I thought something wasn’t right, so I called (I used to live in the USA), spoke using my fluent American English and asked to reserve .. to my shock, they gave me a reservation!! My friends who spoke Arabic were told that there are no tables, but when they thought I was a foreigner they gave me a reservation for 6 people!! Looks like they favor foreigners over Egyptians!! I’m infuriated!! Why does an EGYPTIAN restaurant decline reservations from Egyptians only to give the tables to foreigners?!?!? Are we THAT worthless in their eyes????

 I will be boycotting this restaurant! I’m going there today to raise hell with the manager.

 Note: My friend was with me in the car when they told her they are all booked out, and I called as soon as she hung up so I’m sure no one had cancelled their reservation!!

 My contact details are as follows if anyone would like to contact me directly about this:

Omar M. Elkalla
Business Intelligence Developer
Tel: (+2) 011-555-5373
Personal email:


The worst thing anyone can do is to apply discrimination among his customer base for any reason.  If you do, it will easily spread in the market and you will lose more customers everyday.  Sequoia might be surprised to lose even foreigner customers if they find out what they did, because once I as a customer know that you are capable of lying in one thing then you could lie in several other things.  How do I know then that you have a clean kitchen, that you offer me trusted food and drinks and not cheap alternatives, and … and

It is a well known fact that bad words travel faster than good ones.  One angry customer told all his friends and acquaintances about the Sequoia incident and definitely it will cost the restaurant.

Looking at it from a business point of view, you are a restaurant in Egypt where most of the inhabitants are Egyptians and you do not want Egyptians as your customers….Sounds odd?  How many foreigners will visit you everyday compared to Egyptians? Their attitude seems like people who do not want to make money or reputation in the market.
They might defend themselves by saying “Egyptians reserve by phone and I keep the place reserved for them and then they do not show up”.  Well, it is simple make the reservation and put a policy that if you do not show on the exact time of your reservation, it will be automatically cancelled.  So simple and pleases everyone, instead of lying and favoritism.

Just another bad example of DON’TS in customer service.  And I have to blame the restaurant manager.  If he did a good job managing the place and setting policies straight, his employees would never have dared to do that. SO I could say it is an example of bad managerial skills as well.