Come back in 30days!

by ableadership | Jul 13, 2020 | Blog

Dear Leader,

In my last mental note “the hardest person to lead”, we looked at how self-leadership is a must if we aspire to be great leaders. Today, we will be taking this idea further through one of my favorite stories about Ghandi and a young boy who needed to develop a certain behavior. The story goes like this…..

A woman with a young boy at her side approached Ghandi, he smiled with kindness at them both and asked. “How can I help you?” The woman, who revered Ghandi, replied, “Please tell my son to stop eating sugar”, he won’t listen to me, but I know that he will listen to you”. Ghandi took a moment, his eyes never leaving hers and said. “I’m afraid I can’t. Come back in 30 days“.

The woman was visibly frustrated, but because of her reverence for Ghandi, she nodded respectfully and withdrew. Thirty days later she dutifully returned, boy at her side and once again pleaded: “I am here again to ask you to please tell my son to stop eating sugar”. Ghandi looked directly at the boy with assertiveness in his eyes and warmth in his smile. “Stop eating sugar!” he told him, at which the boy nodded and bowed his head.

The woman couldn’t help herself and so she asked: “why didn’t you tell him to stop eating sugar when I first asked?” To which Ghandi replied, “I couldn’t. I hadn’t stopped eating it myself”. Ghandi’s response was an indication that as a leader you cannot give what you do not have. 

In my leadership coaching and mentoring journey, I find time and gain that leaders are required to create organizational culture and model the desired standard of behavior. But unless they set for themselves personal values and embody the culture they wish to see in the organization, they either fail to deliver on this or get frustrated trying so hard. 

Here is my point, you can tell a lot about a person’s ability to lead others from how well they manage their own life!

In my last mental note, one of my clients shared how his family had created an acronym for their family values < L-I-T-R-E > which stands for: Love, Integrity, Trust, Respect & Excellence. Now, this is the kind of a leader you would expect to build an organization culture with the DNA (values) that is unshakable! A culture that would last long after he’s gone. Because he practices on a personal level what he wants to see in his entire organization. 

My favorite leadership law from the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership by John Maxwell, is “the law of the picture”. This law states that “people do what people see”. Meaning that what we do speaks so loudly that no one is listening to what we say…. 


  • If I were considering joining your organization and team, give me 5 compelling reasons why I’d benefit from having you as my leader.
  • At what price would you be tempted to forsake personal integrity?
  • How can you pre-decide not to compromise your integrity?


A few days ago I was talking with a colleague of mine. She told me a story of one of her coaching classes with middle sc

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AB-Leadership by Annet BAINGANA