People Centric leadership in the midst of Life Disruptions.

Everyone knows change is inevitable, but when it hits home, and our life is upended unexpectedly, the truism takes on an entirely new meaning. In this reality of Covid-19 pandemic, job losses, locust invasions, mental stress and political uncertainty, life has taken a completely “abnormal” or “new normal” is you like. While there are many tactics for “surviving” the sometimes traumatic effects of unforeseen change, there is a more courageous option than merely minimizing the downside of disruption.

Choose it before it chooses you. Because life itself is unpredictable, personal disruption is inevitable. Once you accept this fact, you’ve taken the first step toward keeping your head above water during the next crisis. But simply surviving isn’t enough to succeed. By learning to embrace disruption, you can harness it as a tool for personal and organizational growth


There is a good news article on Harvard Business Review about managing those whose lives have been upended, written by the author of six New York Times best-sellers, Bruce Feiler. In it, he makes the distinction between “voluntary” disruptions in one’s life — say, buying a home or having a child — and “involuntary” disruptions — say, sadly, the loss of a parent, a pet, a job, etc.

It’s worth noting that while many managers and organizational leaders can handle disruption around product and process (although not all can do it well), very few can handle disruption around personal issues, be it their own or their teams. I actually once saw someone get divorced after 20 years; when he returned to work, his manager gave him a Ksh 50,000 gift cash and that was basically it.

I doubt that the new divorcee really wanted to run through walls for that manager after he got his coffee or whiskey with the cash, right? And if you want to be a transformative leader, not just a transactional one, you need to get good at the people side of all this. It is messy and confusing and oftentimes awkward, but if you can’t do that side, you will struggle with real growth and gains around your business and yourself.

This people-centric transformative leadership side is one thing (one big thing)

What is People-Centric Leadership?

People-centric leadership creates a culture where both employees and leaders are more fulfilled and more fully engaged. Leaders see employees as people, not cogs in the machine or lines on a spreadsheet, and they make decisions with this in mind. They also see employees for more than just the work they do. This includes considering their mental health, their situation at home, and other factors that play a role in their overall well-being.

People-centric leaders also want to know what each employee cares most about. One of the most important things to consider is that meaningfulness is highly individual. What matters to one person might not be a significant motivator for another. For this reason, organizations can’t create a blanket purpose and expect it to resonate with everybody. While the company might have specific goals that resonate with some people, it’s up to leaders to identify the work that makes each individual light up, and to highlight the purpose behind each task.

When employees find themselves asking, “What’s the point of this?” it’s a sign that they are not finding the meaning in what they are doing. People-centric leaders know how to spot this warning sign and work with employees to demonstrate how their work has meaning.

“Monkey See,Monkey Do” My Life Paradox Advice.

Monkey see, monkey do is a pidgin-style saying that appeared in American culture in the early 1920s. The saying refers to the learning of a process without an understanding of why it works. Another definition implies the act of imitation, usually with limited knowledge and/or concern for the consequences.culture in the early 1920s. The saying refers to the learning of a process without an understanding of why it works. Another definition implies the act of imitation, usually with limited knowledge and/or concern for the consequences.

As I’m in the middle of 4th floor, some people ask how I manage to look younger than my age. I’ve asked the same question of many people who age well (from Jared Leto to a random fitness trainer who looks like 25 at 50). Here’s what all of these young-looking individuals do (and don’t):

1. AVOID alcohol. There may be some rare exceptions, but in general, alcohol (as well as other addictive substances) makes people less healthy and visually older. The opposite is true😜

2. Sleep a LOT. Sleep is when your body repairs itself. You can’t borrow it: lack of sleep during the week can’t be compensated with oversleeping on the weekend.🤪

3. Do NOT overeat. Excessive weight makes people look older and correlates with dozens of illnesses. Typically I eat twice a day within a 6-hour window or once a day, no snacking. Eating 3+ times a day is just a (bad) habit.

4. EXERCISE. Moderate but regular exercise makes people look healthier and live longer. Personally, I don’t do much cardio (I’d rather walk/cycle/swim in the open air) and prefer moderate weights.

5. LIMIT stress. There are mental habits that help. It helps to believe that everything that happens is for the better. Stoic techniques such as negative visualisation and generally not giving a shit also work. Living close to nature makes all of the above easier.

6. Do NOT eat meat. Eating seafood and wild-caught fish is fine, but farmed red meat is something most people who look younger than their age avoid. I suspect the unhealthy nature of farmed meat has to do with the way livestock is raised and killed (growth hormones, fodder etc).

7. Live ALONE. Surprisingly, all the young-looking, middle-aged men I spoke with lived alone for most of their lives. It may be the result of their independence from the sleeping/eating/behavioral patterns of another person. Or it’s just correlation, and people who are independent from unhealthy societal norms are also independent in their personal lives.👏👏👏🤜

Interestingly, you can find scientific explanations for most of these points (even the last one is defensible, e.g. there are multiple studies showing that sleeping alone improves the quality of sleep). I’ve been following these rules for over 10 years, with “more sleep” being the most difficult due to the nature of my work and life balance😜

If you are twice as young as I am and looking for the key takeaway, here it is: NEVER DRINK ALCOHOL. ( am lying😳) Once you give up on alcohol, you’ll stop silencing your intuition, which will tell you what is good and what is bad for you. You will figure out everything you need to know by yourself and won’t depend on other people for advice.