No substitute for hard work and dedication: Podcast with Lionel Wallace

Sumant Joshi | Blog Author
Sumant Joshi May 20, 2020

There are innumerable quotes defining leadership and all its traits, but the ones that are seldom talked about are hard work and dedication. While we read and hear sayings like ‘hard work beats talent any day’ and ‘talent can’t succeed without hard work’ every other day, their importance is rarely apparent unless it is ‘seen’ or if it ‘succeeds’.

Yes, leaders are the ones that will most assuredly highlight the importance of working hard, because they know there are just no substitutes. In our latest podcast, HR Officer – Learning Development at Jamaica Public Service Pvt. Ltd., Lionel Wallace, shares his passions, his work ethic, his leadership mantra and his journey of becoming an award-winning HR leader at his organization.

Through our conversation, we unearth some of the basic traits that go into the making of a true leader. And, one of those traits is dedication. As Lionel puts it- 


“I hate the words ‘I don’t know.’ I prefer to hear ‘I’ll try.’ So, if people ask me what I am good at. I say, give me the task and I’ll tell you. For me it’s all about going the extra mile. Whatever the task, I want it to be done perfectly and accurately.”


While most individuals know that working hard is critical to leadership, not everyone puts in the required work. Business managers or those in leadership positions, who take longer breaks, boast about their achievements and go home early, are actually not leaders at all. And, one of the most important lessons Lionel’s journey teaches us is that leadership cannot be given, it can only be earned.

People tend to underestimate hard work as a leadership trait. They find the terms ‘genius’ and ‘problem-solver’ more appealing or the more glamorous terms like ‘courage’ and ‘kindness’. But, it is one’s ability to get things done that truly separates the do-ers from the nay-sayers. And, that includes being a successful leader.


‘Even though I hate the word failure, it helps. And, I look forward to failing for the lessons I will learn.'


One of the most inspiring things about leaders is their work ethic. Getting things done is an exceptional leadership trait and valued by almost any business. Think of all the business leaders, entrepreneurs or even celebrities, and think about what drives them, and what makes them so successful. A common trait you will discover is their ability to drive results and get things done. As Lionel himself is driven by his personal leadership mantra of ‘let’s get it done’, it is important to find the right balance between working hard and working smart.


‘As a leader, learning helps a lot. And when I learn something new, I want to share it with my team.’


As an HR leader, Lionel believes strongly in continuous learning and the value it gives to any aspiring leader. Knowledge of the domain and well as knowledge of behavioral aspects go a long way in grooming a leader, and inspiring others to follow suit.

Listen to the entire podcast with Lionel to learn why it's important to seize every opportunity, keep the best foot forward and go that extra mile to accomplish the best results.


  • Learning from failure
  • Importance of family values
  • Motivations & father figures
  • Learning & growing as a team



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