Over the years, I’ve made notes from reading and experience on what are the main ingredients, qualities, and behaviours that we need to be guided to be better leaders.

The components include:

  • Basic ingredients of a leader
  • An atmosphere a leader must create
  • A circle of advice
  • Levels of learning
  • Abilities
  • Habits


Emotional Stability
Diligence & Discipline

A leader must have the basic hardware of intelligence, and the curiosity that follows. The higher the level of leadership bestowed, the higher the level of intelligence is required with a processing brain running at x gigahertz speed.

In addition, there is a difference between one who is intelligent and one who is merely educated.

A leader must be emotionally stable; if they had mothers who did not love them, they tend to be loaded down with strong biases and prejudices. They are often unreasonable, motivated by emotions and not by facts. That clouds judgment and fairness at work and will not gather the best team together.  

Emotion here is not passion. Passion has energy and an enthusiasm that fuels people.

Diligence and discipline are two other ingredients of a leader. A team, people, rely on you and these two qualities ensure one delivers what one promises because teamwork is a chain relying on everyone including the weakest link.

These two ingredients give the realization that there are three most important things in life that you give time for: one’s health, family (which includes close friends), and work.


A confident leader must create an atmosphere where team members are allowed to express an opinion and feel safe in being candid and disagreeing with you. Often, such differences bring about a new and valuable perspective. Open discussions raise self confidence among its members and a way to recognize those who want to contribute to good and better changes.


A circle of friends, diverse in thought, provides fresh air, new thoughts, new ways of seeing things, and new outlooks. Thinking like your friends engage you in mimetic, thinking as others think. You venture only into safer places where no one takes you to task if your mimicked assumptions are wrong. If errors of commission are made, they are still less grave than errors of omission.

Friends giving the same advice do not allow new and independent directions that may challenge or validate beliefs. This reveals a conceited leader’s low need for approval by others.

I trust the wisdom of crowds.

We don’t need independent directors as much as we need independent thinking. I find there is too much mimetics – can thinking. Even high-level professionals want to play safe and hide in the thinking of the majority as sins of thinking; omission is never penalized.


Learning and its various levels come from one’s reading and travel habits, a curiosity, and an attitude towards change.

I read everything and read continuously. And this includes the web. I learn both formally and informally; they go together in the constant learning and practicing, learning and practicing yet again. I am curious, linking things, and asking, asking, and asking, learning from thinkers that write things down. Learning languages gives me a sense of the different nuances in communicating.

I travel and learn from roaming around the world. I learn that every culture is similarly searching and asking and no one has the formula.

Curiosity raises our interest to new and higher levels making us learn more and makes us adaptable to change. Every opportunity to learn gives us yet another chance to become better, another chance to search and find truths, allowing us to abandon old beliefs and thinking.

An open attitude towards change creates humility in leaders as well as an absence of arrogance.

When an effort is successful, share the spotlight because it belongs to all. No one can do it alone. Good leaders don’t care about praises; they care about getting things done. Truly good leaders have a low need for social acceptance.


In searching for truths we need the Ability to find the interdependencies in society. We examine context and problems at different levels in order to pick the right solution at the right level. We find hidden assumptions – and there are so many – because truth is never obvious and one must look beyond it. 

There are hidden agendas, too. People are never after what they say they are after or what may appear they are after. That’s not necessarily bad. Out of sensitivities, what may be desired cannot be said.

For example, the attraction of religion and the Pentecostals is not just the obvious offer of salvation. Urbanization today requires a comforting social structure to survive in. A provinciano from Siargao arrives in Manila, which he thinks is a jungle, would need a support system like that of a church, with a formula used by the early beleaguered Christians in Rome. People need to be in gatherings, in social movements that are not distinctly religious like El Shaddai.  

The clash of religions is not the obvious reason behind 9/11. It may have more to do with frustration of varying levels.  

Thinking clearly, thinking in gray space, and exploring uncomfortable truths are outcomes of the Ability to find the interdependencies in society.  

We not only think clearly, we help others do the same and, in turn, we may find new ways of looking at things

Nothing is black and white and we can explore looking at things in different levels of gray. This in turn allows us to explore what were once discomfiting but were based on erroneous facts, repeatedly passed on over time. Yet, there may be wisdom we have not found that have been passed on over time as well and we need the ability to explore them no matter how far away from our comfort zones they take us.



Developing Habits ensures the above components. Like diligence and discipline, doing your homework sets you up to be recognized and chance favors the prepared.  

Though both are necessary, one should listen more than lecture.  And there is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.

Listening is not just tolerating but also actually showing respect. True respect means open enough to change one’s mind if the other brings in new information, a new point of view that makes sense.

Listening teaches a willingness to be wrong. No one expects you not to make mistakes. Mistakes are investments. Admit them, admit them openly and learn from there. Be willing to also ask for help since no one person knows everything nor can one handle all things alone.

Create an environment where people are safe to question their leaders because it is not only your right to question, it is your responsibility. Leaders in turn should have answers for your questions, or be able to get them, or be able to tell you they cannot answer them. Some answers are strategically confidential but only very few.

Be a problem solver because everything has a solution, though nothing is ever as good as it looks and nothing is ever as bad as it looks either. In goal setting, make sure they are achievable but challenging.

Make certain you have the best team possible who work as one, chosen for merit and not as stars who belong in Hollywood.

You must discriminate very heavily on who becomes your team. Discriminate not in marital status, not in gender, and not in sexual preference but discriminate in favor of intellectual honesty, work ethic, and teamwork results.

See yourself as part of a larger whole or many larger wholes. Commit to developing the capacities of others as well as your own.

When an effort is successful, share the spotlight because it belongs to all. No one can do it alone. Good leaders don’t care about praises; they care about getting things done. Truly good leaders have a low need for social acceptance.