Leadership and leading….Theory and Practice.

So many authors have written about leadership, leading, qualities of a good leader…etc. The few authors that I have read about make me say that all authors have done a good job in portraying the skills and meaning of the leadership concept. I also want to make a few remarks about leadership and leading on this platform. There’s an aspect which needs to be deliberated upon concerning leadership. It’s not surprising that even after we have been taught, read books and practised leadership, we still have problems with this topic in question. The problem which will be of emphasis here, lies on the practical side of leadership.  I will be free to share my views here, which have been based on observation on several occasions…..the way I have seen, met and talked to different leaders from various backgrounds.

I have come to realize that as the world progresses,many people want to lead. They want to take charge. They want to take responsibility. Some even try all means they can just to become leaders. It’s not bad, and it’s not sin to be hungry for leadership. It’s recommended that one should follow their passion, intuition, prophecy or their talent in order to actualize their potential. It’s good for people to be inspired so that they can inspire others. It’s encouraging to even see young and old competing for slots in a given contest in this current generation. The power to lead was already given to us by God. You just need to rise and look for your position. You only need to wake up and realize your dream.

But leadership in itself, has several attributes to regard. Leadership is not an overnight idea……you sleep in bed tonight and wake up in the morning and rush to the leadership scene. That’s what I believe. Probably you have a different opinion. I won’t mind. I also believe that to be fully over equipped with theory on leadership doesn’t automatically translate into practical excellence.

Leadership is a God given ability. I know that anybody can be a leader at some point. That may be true. But I believe that results or delivery would be totally different for different kinds of leaders ranging from the worst result to the best result. Leaders differ in the manner in which they lead but at the end, results may be nearly the same or just different altogether.

A good leader should start practising early, the leadership concepts. They should start looking like one, on the dawn of the day not at sunset. They should walk, talk and behave like one. Sometimes they should be willing to do this for free before they are thrown in the ring for a better reward. They should be under a mentor who can guide and coach them for future preparation. They should be willing to take instructions from the mentor at hand. A leader who has passion to lead should be willing to spent even his own time and sometimes his resources to make sure that everything is accomplished. Leadership requires sacrifice. It requires that one should be ready to handle even that storm they didn’t expect while leading. At times a leader is expected to stay in cold. The welfare of the people he is leading has to be safeguarded. A good leader minds people’s affairs first, then his own, not his own affairs first, then people’s. A leader should allow honest criticism, embrace it and use it to spring forward rightly. A leader should have patience that makes him hold back his temperament easily and so learn. A good leader is best seen in the front, a bold personality not a coward. People will discover that they chose the right person and so will be confident in that leader. All these mentioned attributes are very hard to practise without early preparation, soul searching and mentorship. Definitely, they are also hard to embrace without divine intervention. Take note of that.

Leadership is not guess work. It’s not a ‘let me give it a try’ affair. Leadership is an impact. It has a bearing on the present and future. This is in terms of how people react to the kind of leadership at that point which may affect the environment around in broader terms. Leadership and leading is an area that requires meditation. A good leader should meditate so that they can see what other people are not seeing. Before you mix with those you are leading, see far ahead of them. Before you think about what to tell them, know the outcome before they know. Before morning comes, know how the day will look like in advance.

Unfortunately, what I have experienced with some leaders is disheartening. I will say the truth here. It’s good to appreciate and be honest that some leaders take position in order to issue a revenge or even punish some of the members they are leading. Their aim of taking charge is to treat the grudge they have harboured for long. So their medicine is the position that they have been given. They now have power to punish the followers. It’s also unfortunate that other leaders acquire positions in order to access finances. They start misusing funds for their own benefit. This is ungodly. I want to call this as wickedness.

In other situations, leaders who have no knowledge about leadership are chosen and make so many mistakes that hurt people. At times in a workplace, you find a leader in a top position punishing junior staff for no good reason. Some leaders at the workplace even end up denying junior staff salary or just delay their payment without reasons…and their feeble reason would be….because they are in power.  For heaven’s sake, it’s not good to misuse power. It’s good to use power rationally. In my own view, the more the power, the the more humble a leader should be. If you are a leader you need to be humble. Humility here means that you need to set an example all the time. Do the right thing. In most cases, people learn and do what they see you do than what you tell them to do. It’s a monkey see, monkey do business in leadership.

It’s disheartening also that many of us would want to lead yet our motives are totally different. This is not surprising. That has happened severally, globally.  It’s not good to make people suffer or even die when you are a leader. It’s a bad practice to make people sleep in cold or go hungry (just because you took the money that belongs to them and so are left with nothing). It’s sin to cheat people so that you can acquire some possessions from them through the advantage of your leadership position. I also must say that it’s a bad practice to bribe so that the authorities can set you free knowing very well that you are supposed to be behind bars.

 

Chinua….

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