Being referred to as a leader is demanding. It is both a job and a work. It is a job in the sense that it requires a very great effort. Why must you put in the effort it requires? The answer is simple. Because you have been made a leader, you cannot simply afford to fail. The reason you are chosen or selected among many is because everyone believes there is something you have to offer, and so; you were chosen or elected or even selected as the case may be.
Most leaders who fail to achieve so much while in office simply missed this point of seeing leadership position as a job, and therefore, they didn't put so much effort in ensuring that they succeed. For instance, if occupying leadership position to you is all about the title alone, this kind of mindset wouldn't produce or require you to put in so much effort. You just want the title, and that is all that matters to you.
On the other hand, being a leader is also a work. It is a work in the sense that it requires you put in a sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result. This is why a leader must be highly cerebral, physically and mentally fit and above all, can go the extra mile.
As a leader, you cannot afford not being able to discharge your duty. This is why leadership has never been and will never be a joking affair. It is why when things go wrong, a leader is the one who takes all the blames. No wonder the phrase "everything rises and fall on leadership" became so popular.
It is why we blame President Muhammadu Buhari and his security chiefs for not being able to adequately secure Nigeria, and not my father. Haven said all that, the following are some vital things that are required from you as a leader, whether in your home, in your organization or anywhere you find yourself providing leadership.
- Provide Leadership
To provide leadership is why you are chosen or selected in the first place. Every one cannot lead at the same time. This is why there must be one person per time who will always go before a people, and your primary task at this level is to provide leadership. What does it mean to provide leadership? It simply means you determine the direction that your organization or your people ought to follow or follows per time.
In political leadership, it means you spearhead the decision making process of the nation as the President, or your State as the Governor, or the Local Government as the Chairman of the local government area council; after due consultation with your team. In organizations, it means you see to what would bring about growth and progress to the organization. When you view providing leadership this way, you can see that it is an holistic matter.
Does it then mean as a leader, you cannot delegate authority? Of course, you can! As a matter of fact, part of providing an holistic leadership is through delegation of powers to subordinates who would follow through with your vision. Leadership is never about a one man show, it is about carrying everyone along in the team, while ensuring that through providing adequate leadership, the decision making process is not bridged at any point. This is why effective communication is important as well, so that each and every subordinates knows what to do, and doing it as at when due.
- Lead by Example
Leading by example means you lead by your actions and your words. As a leader, you don't just open your mouth and talk just for the sake of talking. Your talks must be backed up by actions, which are consistent with the talk. Leading by example sets the right atmosphere for the followers to follow effectively.
Moses got the call from God to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. But of course, there was no way he could have achieve that by staying put in the comfort of Pharaoh's palace. He needed to step out of that comfort zone, and be identified with the children of Israel in the slums of Egypt where they were being maltreated by the Egyptian task masters. It was when he stepped out that he saw an Egyptian fighting an Israelite, and then took the Egyptian out. And at another time, he saw two Israelites fighting eachother, and he tried to separate them as well.
Leading by example simply entails a leader coming out of his comfort zone, and the life of opulence that leadership sometimes confers on them, to be identified with the people. It is by stepping out that you know where leadership is lacking and then you fill in the space by showing example. One thing is certain, leadership cannot be done by proxy. One can never be an effective leader if there is no relationship between the leader and the led. One way to bridge such a gap and build this relationship is through leadership by example.
-Be a Doer
A leader must be a doer! What this connote is that there must be a meeting point with what you say as a leader and the actions that follows it. Great leaders are those who say, and they do what they say. There is something I love about Donald Trump, even though I am not his fan. Most of the things he says he would do during his campaign for office of the President of the United States are majorly what he is busy carrying out, even though there had been major setbacks in others. As a matter of fact, he is a sharp contrast from many Nigerian politicians who would promise so much during their campaigns and end up doing little or nothing.
To be a highly respected leader, it is required that you do what you says. Nothing takes away credibility from a leader who fails to do what he says or promised he would do. Many Nigerians now for example, don't rate President Buhari well in the area of security. The reason is because the level of insecurity in the country since he has come on board have gone slightly higher, than witness in the previous administration. Despite his campaign promises pre 2015 to improve on the nation's security, much has not been done in this area, even as he looks to kick starting his second term some few days from now.
As a leader, you cannot excuse yourself from taking responsibility. You cannot continue to blame everyone else except yourself for the many reasons you have failed or failing in the discharge of your duties. While you take all the glory if you succeed, it is also required that you take all the blames when you fail.
I believe this short piece should reposition you again, and stir something positive up within you. If you have been found wanting in any of these requirements listed here, it is never too late to start from where you are. The four key requirements here are: Providing leadership, Leading by example, be a doer and Take responsibilities always, for your actions and inactions, and for those of your subordinates as well anytime they goof.
Have a nice day.
[Centre for New Dimension Leadership]