LEADERSHIP AT THE PEAK – The resource challenge


George W Nyabadza

PEOPLE always work perfectly. When I first understood the truth, meaning and impact of this powerful statement, it changed my life rather dramatically.



ce=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The personal change came through the realisation that behind all human behaviour there is a positive intent. At the core of every person is a desire to express the true self, but the existence of that desire doesn’t in anyway guarantee a positive manifestation of the intent.


If you had the opportunity to watch the blockbuster movie Monster, for which South African actress Charlize Theron won the Oscar award for best actress, you will no doubt have felt great sympathy for the female mass murderer who responded to circumstances that made her life through vicious and brutal murders of men who picked her up while she was “hooking” on the streets.


In fact, I clearly recall my companion expressing outrage at life’s unfairness. You see on the one hand she murdered men who tried to rape or abuse her, an offence punishable by death.


On the other hand despite several efforts to quit the life of prostitution, society rejected her because she had no other marketable skills. Her efforts to quit were driven by a strong desire to live a clean life and to provide a comfortable and decent living for herself and her young lover. When her efforts to go clean failed, her resources enabled her to default to prostitution.


Back in prostitution she was confronted with the reality of men who expressed their limitations through viciousness and she responded by gunning them down. In the end her powerlessness to make better choices led her to gun down an innocent family man who offered to take her into her house, clean her up and provide her accommodation.


My point here is one woman who acted perfectly in all she did because she had no better resources available to her to make a different decision. An elaboration on the statement may provide a better understanding; people work perfectly with the resources that they have and make the best decisions within the parameters prescribed by those resources.


In other words to help people make better decisions, equip them with more resources.


If you are a student of the great leadership and management book, the Bible, you will recall an incident when Jesus, during the last few moments on the cross, cried out: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


On the surface of it the request doesn’t appear justifiable. Here he was, nailed to the cross, at the instigation of some of the most intellectual and astute people of the day who without doubt had planned the whole thing to the last day.


But you see Jesus in his spiritual wisdom realised that people always work perfectly and that if those present had more resources at their disposal they would have acted differently.


With this keen knowledge about human behaviour, it was therefore easy to ask for them to be forgiven.


One of the best strategies you can employ to free yourself from poisonous bitterness, anger, disappointment and frustration that serves no purpose but to drain your healthy positive energies away is to accept the truth that people work perfectly and that if they knew any better they would have behaved or reacted differently.


Your only recourse is to forgive, empathise and explore ways to equip them with more resources so that they can make better decisions.


So if we go back briefly to my thesis on personal leadership: being spirit-led or being driven by primal urges, the difference between the two is that the latter operates from a limited personal resource basis.


The abusive leader, the stealing business person and the cheating spouse all need additional resources to help them make better decisions because in their limited state, they are working perfectly. Forgive them for they know not what they do.