The Fuel To Lead by Maurice Radebe is a leadership development book in the form of an autobiography. As a South African the author’s setting is familiar to me, which makes the book very relatable. I especially enjoyed his view on the integration of faith and work, which was not yet a well-known concept at the time his grandfather introduced it to Radebe.
Growing up in a township and rural KZN taught Radebe important life skills, and his family played a significant role in shaping his character. His calling and mission in life came from God, and each role he had throughout his career prepared him for the next. He emphasises that as a business leader, one is also a leader at home and in society, and living out that role looks different for each person.
Radebe made history with Excel and created opportunities for upcoming entrepreneurs in the energy sector. The journey from ideation to transition within Sasol is packed with business lessons, from selecting the dream team to stakeholder relationships.
Faith in God was instrumental in Radebe’s decision-making, both personally and in business. He tells how God showed up at a critical time in his business and how he thrived under pressure, with the support of his family. His quote, “But remember, talent can take you to the top, but character keeps you there,” is a testament to the importance of character in leadership.
The golden thread throughout the book is growth and development of character as a business leader. Radebe gives insights from his experiences on how faith and values impact positively and negatively. He believes that African leaders lose credibility due to poor character, which has motivated him to develop leaders who uphold strong values.
The Fuel To Lead is an inspiring book that provides practical leadership development advice. The author’s love for developing leaders is apparent throughout the book, expressed through his life experiences, the various roles and responsibilities in his family, church, and career. The book highlights the importance of character, faith, and values in leadership, and the impact they have on those around us.