The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

September 19, 2012

Meeting Umar

By Jim Hessler

I’d like to tell you about Umar Shavurov.

Several weeks ago, Umar contacted The Boss Show and expressed interest in talking with us about leadership, about his career direction, and about the possibility of exploring connections and ideas. We were, as always, pleased to hear from someone who had made notice of our work and who expressed what appeared to be a sincere interest in our favorite topic – leadership. But I have to be perfectly honest, my decision to meet with Umar was a professional courtesy and I made the appointment without any enthusiasm. Umar’s LinkedIn page said he was from Kyrgzstan. Kyrgzstan? Really? Aren’t there a couple of vowels missing there? Wasn’t Umar likely to be a bit of a bumpkin coming from such a small country? Would he have a thick accent? What was likely to be in it for me to spend time with Umar?

Well, I met with Umar today, and I can tell you that he is singularly impressive – so much so that I am prouder to be a member of the human race after spending time with him. His experiences as an employee of the World Bank, along with his own personal experience of living internationally and growing up in a small republic struggling to find its way in the world, have given him perspective and helped him to be tolerant and appreciative of where other people come from. He strives to understand the cultural underpinnings of leadership. He eschews simplistic thinking and solutions. He has strong humanistic values. He settled in America with his American wife, and stands ready to expand the minds and hearts of those of us who are willing to listen.

I look forward to a long and fruitful friendship with Umar. I suspect we have much to learn from one another. I thank him for his gifts of intelligence and compassion and for opening my eyes once more to the profound treasures to be discovered in the hearts and minds of people who are “different from us.”



About the Author

Jim Hessler bootstrapped his way from retail work into a successful career as salesman, sales manager, Fortune 500 executive, and corporate turnaround engineer. Along the way, he developed The Leadership Platform, a proven model for training managers to become sustainably better leaders. It became the basis of his leadership primer, Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guild to Building Your Leadership Platform. Jim is the founder of Path Forward Leadership Development Services.

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