Getting Down to Grass Roots Level

March 21, 2016 Caryn Walsh

Getting Down to Grass Roots Level

I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting down to a grass root level with some very charismatic and caring leaders in my role as CEO of a leadership, people and organisational development organisation.

In the last year, in particular, I have met two that have really impressed me and I will tell you why.

The Fijian Prime Minister, Mr Frank Bainimarama, is much loved in his country. And is clearly a person in whom his people have great faith. I remember about a year ago, just before the Fijian elections were held, having a discussion with a cab driver in Suva. He told me that in his eyes ‘the only want to lead this country is Mr Bainimarama.’ When I asked him why, he told me two words only ‘he cares.’”

I thought about this a lot. Ultimately I had the privilege of meeting the PM a month later, at a Forum in Sydney. I can see why they love him. He is a man of the people and seems to follow the ‘servant leader’ principle and believes that his role is to help his people. He has vision, direction, is deeply responsible and as the cab driver said, he cares. Wow, does he care!

Then in early January, I met Fiji’s Minister of Health, Mr Jone Usamate. What energy and humility this leader has. Truly. He is engaging and truly interested in (and concerned about) the health of his nation. Neither a doctor nor a medical man, he is from a teaching/training background and is clearly the best man for the portfolio he heads. I spent about two hours talking to him about Fijian health and how best to ensure his people live long, healthy lives and a large part of our discussion was about leadership and the successes and achievements of truly exemplary leaders.

My experience of two world-class leaders

So what is it about these two men that makes them great leaders and truly impressive? Developing leaders over many years, I believe they have some key ingredients:

  • Humble
  • Approachable and easy to connect with
  • Both passionate about their people and the role they play in helping them
  • Deep convictions about helping others
  • Deeply connected to their nation and their land
  • They both care, deeply

In short, they are both impressive in their very responsible leadership roles. Very impressive.

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