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Being A Leader Of Significance, With Mosongo Moukwa

In today’s world, more and more people are searching for significance in what they do. What our guest realized on his own journey is that work is never about market share or innovation but instead the outcomes were the result of transformational change. This led to the book, Be a Leader of Significance, which Mosongo Moukwa joins us today to tell us more about. Mosongo is the President at Hathaway Advanced Materials and has been identifying leadership gaps and developing the talent and culture necessary for success. In this episode, he enlightens us about what it truly means to be a leader of significance, providing practices that could help in our leadership journey. From fostering psychological safety to fueling curiosity, Mosongo shows us the importance of nourishing not just ourselves but our people as well. Tune in and discover why being a leader of significance is more than just tracking how far we have progressed, but how far we help others progress along the way.

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Being A Leader Of Significance, With Mosongo Moukwa

In this episode, my guest is Mosongo Moukwa. Mosongo is a seasoned executive and consultant who has dedicated his career to helping companies thrive by commercializing new technologies, diversifying their product offerings, and entering new markets. After 30-plus years in leadership, Mosongo has applied his unique talent for identifying important leadership gaps in developing the talent and culture necessary for success. He helps solve important innovation challenges that hold organizations back by unleashing the collective creativity of their people.

Mosongo has written and spoken on leadership, neuroscience, project management, and business. He is the author of the recently published, Be A Leader of Significance, and his articles have appeared in Business Today, The Journal of Creative Behavior, Crain’s Cleveland Business, R&D Innovator, and Business Standard.

Mosongo serves as the president of Hathaway Advanced Materials and has held leadership positions in R&D and operations at some of the world’s most respected brands, including SC Johnson, Reichhold, Asian Paints, Avient, and PCBL. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Mosongo, welcome. Thanks for joining me on the show.

Thank you. I’m excited to have a conversation with you. Thank you for having me on your show.

Career Sessions, Career Lessons | Moukwa | Leader Of SignificanceI’m looking forward to it as well. Let’s dive right in. Let’s start with your book, Be A Leader of Significance. Why did you write the book and what is its overall message?

The book is about advocating for impactful leadership. One that impacts people’s hearts and minds, makes a lasting difference and opens doors that could lead to amazing research. This came from reflection on my journey. I came to realize that the work was never about market share or innovation but instead, the outcomes were the result of transformational changes that started from the ground up.

The book is to inspire people, to seize leadership opportunities, and create moments of significance for others. That’s what the book is about. What the book includes are practices and ideas that have developed over the years that I wanted to share with the readers to help them on their leadership journey. They will find in the book many stories, and then at the end of each chapter, there are a number of actions that they could take. That’s what the book is about.

Was the title your idea or did somebody in the publishing chain come up with it?

The title was my idea because I wanted to put that emphasis on significance. It’s because what I have realized is that when I meet many of the managers who worked with me over the years and we are talking about our time together, they never seem to talk about the number of revenues or market share or whether we have improved productivity. We always talk about the experiences that they went through while working with me or while engaging in some development of manufacturing projects. The work was not about improving the share price but it was that experience. That’s why I chose that title, Be A Leader of Significance.

What distinguishes a leader of significance from other leaders?

First of all, let’s look at that significance. One thing that makes our life worth living is a feeling of significance. Some of our most treasured memories are the times were, in my case, I shared something. In doing so, it made me feel special, needed, and valued. I bet some of the people out there are feeling the same. The amount of significance that you feel and how you feel that need, as a matter of fact on how we view and work toward our life purpose. Fulfilling the need for significance is essential to achieving mental and emotional health.

I work for a COO just to contrast that with the transaction leadership. Early in my career, I was the head of a big department and I was reporting to this chief operating officer. I went to see him hoping to discuss what his expectations for the job would be, and then what he was looking forward to. He answered me like this. He said, “For me, the rule is simple. You scratch my back, I scratch yours.” You cannot find transactional like that one, which is, in many ways, that’s what many leaders do. They tend to focus on the deliverable. They tend to focus on the project and so on not realizing that if you touch the hearts and minds of the people, and you create the opportunity for them to feel significant, you can achieve beyond expectation.

There is something that comes from that deeper relationship that you have with anybody. Not just a leader that is built on trust, built on respect, and built on caring.

You are right because at the end of the day, what employees are looking for, they want to feel that sense of belonging. I remember early in my career, I was working with this group of scientists. One of them by the coffee machine, I asked him, “Could you tell me, what you enjoy about this place?” I thought he was going to tell me, “We have this great chemistry. You are giving us a great project.” No. What he told me is, “What I enjoy here is that during lunchtime, I could play ping pong because that gives me an opportunity to meet with John and Steve. We can share ideas and whatnot.” The sense of belonging and the sense of affiliation were extremely important.

That sense of belonging is important. You have used the words belonging and valued. We all go to work wanting to feel like we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves if we are not transactional about it. Part of that is deeply tied to a sense that you belong to something bigger and that your contributions to that something bigger are valued. Without that, it does get to be, “It’s just a job.”

We want to belong to groups that will reflect who we are at our core. To belong to something that invites our participation and gives us room to be ourselves. That sense of belonging is maybe the ultimate way to motivate and bring the best out of people. That’s one element. The other one that people are also looking for is the psychological safety. I remember there was this marketing employee. She got transferred into my group.

She was telling me that while she was in the marketing department, in the beginning, her boss used to come to her and say how great of a job she was doing, the project was moving well, and so on. Over time, she began to hear some rumors that she was not performing to expectations and that she was not being invited to meetings. I did ask her when she joined my group, I said, “Did you go to your supervisor or your boss, and then ask why that was the case?” She said, “No, I did not go because I did not feel safe going there and even raised that question. I felt invasive.” Based on that, people can even, at the minimum, raise their concerns, or something important to them is extremely important for them to be in that environment.

It’s hard to feel a sense of belonging or hard to feel valued if you don’t even feel like you can speak the truth, raise your concerns, and express an opinion. The example that you gave was also in the book. It’s a perfect example of when somebody destroys psychological safety for an individual. It undercuts her confidence, and she needs to move into a different situation to get that back. You said she went on to a very successful career so she needed that change. I was going to change topics and talk a little bit about energy. Energy was a key theme. You used that word a lot throughout the book. How would you define energy in the way that you intended it in the book?

The energy is looking for those enlivening events. Looking for one individual that felt the most alive. That’s what I’m talking about. You can look at it at the level of individuals, and you can also look at it at the level of the organization. At the level of individuals, what you are looking for is, as I mentioned, enlivening events for the individuals. You can get it from stories and stories of the people.

One exercise that I did in a couple of organizations was to pair employees. The exercise was a very simple one. You put employees in pairs and you ask each one of them to interview the other person but then the question that I told them to do is to ask the question about the times when the other person felt most alive at work. At the end of that interviewing session, they will come back and then relay the story.

This was a powerful exercise. In the book, I’m giving the story of a gentleman called Mr. Lee. Mr. Lee was an older gentleman. This is a chemical company that we are talking about here. There was a process there in manufacturing that everybody was using. Mr. Lee was the one who improved that process. As this individual was reading the story to all of us, he said that early in his career, the process was not working well, the cycle time was too high, productivity was very low, and then the people in manufacturing called on Mr. Lee to come and help them solve their problem.

The fact that they initiated that call to Mr. Lee was extremely energizing for him. He went there, to improve the process, and he shared with us that the most enjoyable part of that activity was the fact that they asked him to come and help solve the problem. The interviewer, as he was relating the story, said that as Mr. Lee was telling the story, he could see that Mr. Lee was coming a lot. What that means is once we identify those enlivening moments in the life of an employee we can put them in those situations, that’s when those individuals come alive, and they can then give the most to the organization. That was for the individual.

For the company, you want to ask the same type of question. You want to know what is bringing the organization to life. For that, same thing, except that you have to ask a group of employees at various levels of the organization and try to discover those stories that have given energy to the organization. What is it here in this organization, for example, that brings energy into the organization? This is something that one can do. From there, you can see from the responses of the employees, you can see a number of patterns.

In the book, I’m relating one example in one of the companies. What some of these employees suggest is, “My ideas matter, not my position. Freedom is essential. It’s good to be appreciated and recognized.” From there, you can distill this into what we call life-giving forces. In that particular company, what they are saying is emotional connection is as important, as passion to succeed, and belief in self and others. Some of those life-giving forces may be existent in the organization but some may be aspirations. Once you know that, then you can craft processes, systems in place, and activities to try to address some of those life-giving forces for the organization. This is how you bring that energy forward.

On the flip side, what are the things that you have seen people do other than the example you gave a minute ago around psychological safety? What are some of the things that you have seen leaders do that suck the energy right out of the organization?

As leaders, we sometimes miss many opportunities because there are so many junctures. During the day, where do we meet people? At the coffee shop, in meetings, and so on. You can greet people, “How are you doing?” Then you walk away. That means I’m greeting you but I don’t want to know more. You could sometimes introduce people somewhat in a very dismissive way. That also sometimes up the energy.

You could come to an individual and say, “How are we doing in the project?” You, as a leader, are interested in whether we are meeting our milestones or not, when in fact, you could ask the individual, “What are some of the bright spots here? Are there any good surprises here? What do you think you should do more?” This one brings some energy because it puts the employee somewhat into a reflective mode. I find that that works quite well.

For the leader to do this, apart from not being too transactional during the day asking how somebody’s doing quickly and walking away in your example from a minute ago. The leaders have to have their energy too. They have got to make sure that they develop their energy and preserve their energy. In your experience, how did you do that so that you were able to consistently provide some of that energy to people individually in the organization or to the organization as a whole?

This is a great question because I have often said that the leader has to be the energy in a shift. It means that the leader also has to create that dose of energy. Sometimes you need to give yourself also that energy. That energy comes down to, if the leader has a sense of what is driving him because that becomes your compass and that becomes what every day when you are getting up, that is your engine. That’s what keeps you going.

Leadership is a journey. Throughout that journey, the leader is going through the process of discovering himself and discovering his purpose. As you are beginning to live that purpose and you are getting fulfillment, then you are also generating energy, then you have a sense of being significant, and then you are beginning to recognize the significance in others as well.

Career Sessions, Career Lessons | Moukwa | Leader Of Significance

Mosongo Moukwa: Leadership is a journey, and through that journey, the leader goes through the process of discovering himself.

We have talked a lot about energy. I don’t know whether we have confirmed or refuted the first law of thermodynamics but we can move on to something else at this point. Curiosity was another topic that came up throughout the book. You describe yourself as a curious person. It certainly showed in the narrative of the book. What fuels your curiosity?

Some of it is coming from my upbringing. We have traveled a great deal around the world so it has created a great deal of flexibility and adaptability because then you begin to appreciate the places, at the culture. I was born in the Congo, and then we lived partly in Belgium, then in the Congo. From there, even within Africa, we have traveled to some places. In Europe, we have traveled a great deal. Even when we are younger, my father always helps us to be curious, taking us to museums, exposing us to things, and always encouraging us to go and see places. To quote him, he always said, “You have to go out there and see places.”

That always fuels my energy but because of that, I have developed that curiosity about many things and also curiosity about people. As a student, I came across students from virtually around the world. From Iraq, Iran, Colombia, and Chile. Some of them, I’m still in touch even after so many years, more than 40 years. You then begin to appreciate and you want to learn more. That has helped me also as a leader because I believe that even to develop that trust with others, you need to have that persistent curiosity. When you are looking at the people you want to look at them with generosity. You want to look at them as a person with a soul. That’s where probably that curiosity has come from.

Do you think when a leader has curiosity, can their curiosity be contagious in the organization?

Yes. Curiosity or passion, all of these are contagious. If the leader is curious, then you expose other people. For example, one of the activities that I have done over the years, which I thought have those who are working with me was when we have the Friday weekly meeting, I would consciously decide not to discuss projects but to pick up an article, a current event, or an article leadership, and then share it to the group and have a discussion. That also spurs a little bit of curiosity to others. As time went on, some of the managers also began to bring something that would be worthwhile to discuss.

Also, I will offer them a book, and then I will tell them, “Why don’t you guys read this book? In one month, let’s discuss this.” In the beginning, they will be maybe reluctant but over time, they begin to appreciate this. Some of them have continued doing this practice in their jobs in different companies. When you are curious, you are beginning to ask questions. As you are learning, you are also sharing your learning with other people. In turn, they can feed off of what you are telling them. They may even go and research more, come back, and you can then have a conversation with others.

I know that you like to meet as many people as you can when you join an organization. What are some of your favorite questions in those introductory conversations with people?

When I meet with them and I’m greeting them, I will ask them, “Where are you from? What brought you here?” People come from various areas. If they said, “I’m from Chapel Hill.” I’m like, “As a matter of fact, I have lived in Chapel Hill. Where did you go?” We then begin to have a conversation. They might talk about their family, and then I might ask, “How is your father?” These are the types of conversations that we have. Those small conversations outside, the project-related, helps build that connection with others. That’s what it is there.

What is your memory of those conversations? Mine is terrible.

For some of them, I remember. That’s why I put them in the book, for some of those conversations. As the conversation, I told you earlier about that fellow who said they enjoy ping pong, that stuck with me for more than 40 years. Some of those conversations will remain there because then you can build off of those conversations. You then share a little bit about yourself as well in those casual conversations, and then it goes that way. For leaders to build that trust, the leaders have to be visible. You are not going to build that by locking yourself in your office. You have to be visible, you have to be present, and you have to come across genuinely.

For leaders to build that trust, they have to be visible. You're not going to build that by locking yourself in your office. Click To Tweet

You like to get people in reflective mode when you are checking in on them. How do you get them thinking about how things are going?

You do that by the way you phrase a question. You could ask, “How is the project going? Have we made that milestone yet?” A good question could be, “How did you do? What is it like? Can you tell me more?” In that case, then people will begin to reflect more. You can learn more that way, and then they will be more open to sharing more if they are having difficulty. You are not asking them, “What trouble are you having?” The questioning, it’s forcing them to reflect upon their actions but also share with you the successes or things for which they are getting greater pleasure.

It’d be good if you could get people comfortable answering a question of, “How are you feeling? How are you feeling about X or Y?” Having them answer it takes asking it. You get a superficial answer but the more you ask it, you start to get a deeper answer from people as you build that trust and comfort that you are going to take whatever they say in the right spirit.

It’s incremental. You start little by little, and then you get there.

Transformation is a topic you are talking about in the book. It’s been a big part of your career and your leadership journey. When you think back on the transformations that you have been part of, what do you think have been the biggest keys to success in them?

Keys to success that that has been is to get the transformation from the ground up, to go with the idea that you are trusting employees for them to identify, and lead that transformation. What do I mean by that? For example, if you come and you feel the organization needs to transform or to be disrupted, trust employees to come and suggest what we need to do so that things can be better.

I gave some examples in the book where I had a group of employees. I said, “Let’s have not the senior manager but let’s have those in the middle.” I tasked them to look at the organization. What are those areas that they feel either need to be improved or need to be changed and come up with a proposal? That brought tremendous energy to that group of middle managers and they came up with great recommendations. You have to take it from the ground up. Transforming by top-down will never work. You will never be able to carry at least the majority of the people.

There’s a heavy sense of empowerment in the way you are describing this.

That’s where those employees will feel that they are significant. They will feel that sense of empowerment, a sense that they are contributing something big.

Does that translate in the way that you think about leading an organization into a flatter structure? Does it translate into self-managed teams and things like that?

In all those cases, they led organizations to somewhat of a flatter structure, because that came from the recommendation of those employees. That’s what it came up with. It also resulted in changes, perhaps, in some policies. It came into looking at some activities that could have been de-energizing. It led to rearranging the way a project was being resourced. All of that. There is no single result. In some cases, I had flat organization. In other cases, I had a hybrid type of structure. We experimented as well.

What are the big areas in the transformations that you have been part of that have been, other than the technical challenges, what areas have been the most difficult to work through?

The area that has been the most difficult to work with is that, as you are trying to transform the organization, you also need to lay out the vision and the vision for the organization. That is something because you build trust, you energize the individual, and you organize your organization but you also need to have that great vision. That has been one area that I would say that transformation has to be associated with the vision for the organization.

Career Sessions, Career Lessons | Moukwa | Leader Of Significance

Mosongo Moukwa: As you are trying to transform the organization, you also need to lay out the vision for the organization.

I want to get to your career journey but is there anything else from the book that you want us to take away before we change gears?

The other part is obviously as one thing I would say is that leadership is not a solo venture. It’s not about how far we progress but how far we will help others progress. For that, it means that you need to develop others and you need to create an opportunity for others. Those elements also bring that level of significance for individuals as well.

As they say, there’s no I in a team, there’s also no I in leadership. Go back to the beginning of your career journey. When you first finished school, what did you envision yourself doing? What was your first job? How did you end up in that job?

When I finished my PhD, I got a research fellowship to work at Northwestern University near Chicago, Illinois. I came into this leadership by accident. I finished my PhD and I have taken this job with a specialty in a chemical company. I was excited to be part of the research and development, looking forward to developing great products, IP, and so on.

Not long after I started, the vice president of R&D called me for a one-on-one meeting. He told me, “I would like for you to be a manager. We don’t have a research group here. I have spoken to your colleagues, they think you will be the right fit for this role.” I was a bit caught off guard so I told him, “I have never managed anybody.” He replied to me, “No, you will be fine.” All of a sudden, I was a brand new manager with no managerial experience and I had to figure things out by myself. Some people helped me along the way but more or less, I was in my role.

How long had you been in the company when you were thrust into that position?

That was one month so I was there fresh for one month.

If your colleagues were backing you, you must have made quite a first impression.

Yes but I was a bit scared, I must say. I was taken aback. We were there so I was successful in building that research organization. Years passed, and then eventually that developed into a long and very interesting career. What created a life for me and hopefully for the audience is the thought that growth and comfort cannot exist because I was put in that somewhat uncomfortable position, it allowed me to grow. That crystallization made it easier for me to take on risky changes in different jobs some of which were difficult. That’s how I started my career.

The other one also I learned during that period is that when I started that job, I faced a choice. To do what other leaders around me were doing or to do what I felt was best for people, the people I was leading, and the organization. That’s how I started my career. Once I finished there, we built a group and then it was successful. They gave me other assignments. Eventually from there, I got the senior position at the global companies managing groups not only in the US but overseas. I managed groups based in Mexico and groups in Austria. groups in Brazil, and groups in the Netherlands.

From there, I got an assignment to go to India, then I came back, and then I had another assignment to India. Now, I’m the president of a company called Hathaway Advanced Materials, which is a special chemical company that makes a special polymer called Polysilazane. That’s all. Throughout all these, I never regretted being in the leadership role.

You have mentioned all the places that you have lived and I know you have worked in a number of places across the United States as well and managed teams in different parts of the world. How has having such a multicultural perspective helped you as a leader?

It helped me to realize that human beings are all the same. There is a commonality in human beings. There is a commonality there because everybody’s yearning for that human connection. Whether you are Mexican, whether you are Austrian, and so on. That helped me because it allowed me in many of those places to be able to connect with all those team members regardless of whether it’s in India, whether it was in Austria, or the people in Brazil. I got an email from one of my former managers from Brazil. That allowed me to be able to weave my way around those multicultural tapestries.

There is a commonality in human beings because everybody's yearning for that human connection. Click To Tweet

Along the way, I got the impression that also you were recruited for certain of the positions that you have taken. Did you do a lot to actively cultivate relationships with the search firms that work in your industry?

The assignment I got to go to India, where they asked me to go there and build an R&D organization that is innovative and so on, that one came through head-on. I was looking for an opportunity for a role in China. In those days, China has a big company. I was intrigued and I was saying, “No, it will be good to go there and work there for a while,” but there were no assignments.

The recruiter keeps on telling me, “No, I’m not getting anything.” I have this opportunity here in India and so on. I told him, ” I wasn’t sure. I was looking for something in China,” and then he said, “Why don’t you look at it?” That’s how it ended. One of the recruiters prior to that told me, he said when he was looking at my career, he realized that I was very good at building organization. That’s what he said, which is something at that time I did not fully realize or internalize so that also helped me. Some of those opportunities came through those headhunters.

It’s always interesting when they play back to you how you come across to them. You can take or leave what they say but at the end of the day, they are forming opinions on people all the time through their resume or through their network of referrals or through the discussions they may have with them directly and they have a lot of influence. It pays to pay attention to what they are saying and how they think about you and maybe things you don’t see in yourself. When you think back on the different stops that you have made so far in your career, would you say that you have been more opportunistic or more intentional about it?

Some of them were opportunistic and intentional. When I made my first move, that one was intentional. In the sense that I felt that I needed to be involved with other industries, with other chemicals, and then that opportunity came. I took it as a vice president for one company that was making chemicals for the printing industry so that’s what that was there. The opportunity to go to India, was more opportunistic because it was not something I was planning to do, and then I said, “Let’s give it a try. If it doesn’t work then we will try to come back to the US.” It turned out that it was a great experience there, very fulfilling.

Did your family enjoy the time over there?

Yes. At that time, my wife came there for a short while and all my children came to visit there because they were adult children so they came there, and that gave us an opportunity to travel around together and visit the country.

Throughout all of this, what have been the consistent strengths that you have drawn on in your career?

Throughout this what I have drawn upon is a great deal of resilience. I have drawn upon mental flexibility and mental agility. One can put it that way. I have drawn upon the focus to continue to drive, not to give up on the first obstacle. probably those are the three things I would I would say that there.

Storytelling is a big part of the book. Would you consider yourself a strong storyteller?

Yes, because I have realized that when you are telling a story, the story is in a way of a mirror. A mirror of other people. When you are telling a story or when somebody else is telling the story, you could have a mirror of who they are. Some of the stories that left an impact on me. Those are the ones that I put in the book. My hope is that could inspire others who are reading the book there so they can relate and perhaps use some of those ideas. At least they could understand the meaning behind some of the ideas that I put out there.

What are some of the leadership traits that you had to work at developing over the years?

At the beginning of my career, one area that I had to work on particularly when I was given that first assignment, was the year of giving feedback. I was extremely reluctant. Once I was given the job of giving feedback, I was very good and the people on my team appreciated that in terms of energizing them, and getting them excited about the project. I was very reluctant to give feedback.

Some of my colleagues brought that to my attention as well, then I began to realize it was affecting the way the group was being viewed and the way I was being viewed but also the way the group was being viewed. That’s where I decided to begin to calibrate. I did not, at that time, get any formal training on how to give feedback. I’m more or less, learning it on my own, because initially when you are giving feedback, I would tend to attack the individual. “Why are you not doing this? Let’s not be lazy and so on.” When in fact, that was the wrong way of giving feedback. I began to learn that you have to attack the situation, not the individual, which was big on my career. When I quickly realized that, then everything else fell into place. Employees, they look for feedback. They were very appreciative when you are giving them feedback.

When giving feedback, you have to attack the situation and not the individual. Click To Tweet

It goes back to feeling valued. What or who inspires you?

There are some people here. The person who inspired me, first of all, is my father. The reason I’m saying that is because he lost his father, my grandfather, at the age of 8, and they were 10 children. They had to fend for themselves and it was hard for them. He worked very hard to put himself into schooling and then learn and so on, and then eventually he made something of himself, some good position, which allowed us then in turn to be sent to good schools and so on.

What I see there is a person who was extremely dedicated to improving himself and pursuing a goal despite the many challenges that he had at that time so that’s one person. The other one as a leader, I would say, is Nelson Mandela, not the Nelson Mandela that we know as a politician but as an individual. I’m sure you know the movie Invictus. Invictus was written by William Henley. Those are the words of inspiration and motivation and then they made a movie.

When you look at that movie, we know the context of apartheid and so on but when you look at that movie, you will see that the way they portray Nelson Mandela, there is a leader with extremely high emotional caution. Emotional, self-awareness, interpersonal relationship, empathy, all those elements, reality testing, flexibility, listening, and assertiveness. When I looked at that movie from that angle, I got the sense of the individual who this man was so for that, I would say certainly one of those that will come to the top of the mind.

What’s ahead for you over the next few years of your career?

I’m involved as a president for Hathaway Advanced Material. One of the objectives that we have here is that this is somewhat of a startup company so me and the chairman of the company, we are involved in raising capital so that’s what it is. We are producing materials. We are selling but we think we can make a bigger impact if we could have some injection of capital to scale up the technology much further than we have done so far.

You talk about legacy in the book. Where does legacy factor into how you are thinking about things? What legacy are you focused on leaving?

The legacy that would like to leave. I would love to be remembered as someone who made a difference in people’s lives by believing in them and helping them uncover and liberate who they truly are. That understanding has come to articulate what drives me. That’s the reason why I also do some coaching for some of the people. It feels more directly aligned with the why than being an entrepreneur or being a senior leader.

Any last thoughts or advice you want our audience to take away?

The advice that I will give the manager, during your journey, go through the process of discovering yourself because then you can understand who you are. It will give you a sense of purpose in your leadership activities. We have to remember in Ancient Greek, the priest at the temple of Apollo, Delphi, had this big sign, “Know thyself”. Leader, you have to go through that process.

For those who are starting in their leadership role, I would say, start by reflecting upon events or books, things that have had an impact on you. You will start then discovering some things out there and for those who are somewhat senior, I would say to begin to think of writing your eulogy. How would you like to be remembered? Once you have that, then as a senior leader, it will help you in terms of even strengthening or leaving your legacy.

How do you practice reflection?

One thing, I read a lot. I have a notebook here where I write some thoughts. I have been reading a lot about stoicism, and then I’m looking at it by reflecting upon my own life to see those instances where some of those lessons could have been applied or things that I have done could have been called stoic and so on. That’s how I do it.

Thanks for doing this with me. I appreciate it.

Thank you for having me on your show. It was a good conversation.

I enjoyed it as well. You have a good rest of your day.

Thank you. You take care.

I want to thank Mosongo for joining me to cover his published book, Be A Leader of Significance, his career journey, and what he’s learned along the way. If you are looking to be a leader of significance or a better professional, visit If you’d like more regular career insights, you can become a member. It’s free. You can also sign up on our website for the newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Thanks. Have a great day.


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About Mosongo Moukwa

Career Sessions, Career Lessons | Moukwa | Leader Of SignificanceMosongo Moukwa serves as the President at Hathaway Advanced Materials and has held leadership positions in R&D and operations at some of the world’s most respected brands, including SC Johnson, Reichhold, Asian Paints, Avient, and PCBL.
Across thirty-plus years in leadership, Mosongo has applied his unique talent for identifying leadership gaps and developing the talent and culture necessary for success. He helps solve important innovation challenges that hold organizations back by unleashing the collective creativity of their people.
Mosongo has written and spoken on leadership, neuroscience, project management, and business. He is the author of the recently published, Be a Leader of Significance. His articles have appeared in Business Today, The Journal of Creative Behavior, Crain’s Cleveland Business, R&D Innovator, and Business Standard.
He lives in Chapel Hill, NC.


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