The greatest dearth of my continent ~ Africa is the dearth of leaders and a warped concept of leadership. Every country and group of people have claims of been led by someone at the helm of affairs. There is a saying that I will like to convert to describe leadership ~ “Some are born leaders, some achieve leadership, some have leadership thrust upon them”. This describes the types of leaders we have of which, the last two describes more of what obtains in our world – Some see the leadership as achievement while it is thrust upon some. The original version by Williams Shakespeare describes greatness and it added a prefix instruction – “Be not afraid of greatness . . .”
While our experiences with leadership might not be on the positive side, it’s important that leadership is put in proper light and imbibed in proper dimension for a better world. History has a way of chronicling leaders who have impacted the world even to generations yet to come, the names are enough to send a sensation- if you hear the name Adolph Hitler, Christopher Columbus, Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah and the list goes on, what comes to mind?
Our ideas on leadership have gotten too used to governance and politics; tabloids and social media unendingly give unapologetic stories of failed leadership across the globe. While we reckon with the public leadership status as the standard, we overlook the everyday opportunities of leadership in our homes, offices, factories and religious centers. Homes where the women and the children dare not have contrary ideas or opinions to the husbands’; Employers of labour who have replaced their offices and factories into slavery centres with helpless employees whose options are limited; Religious leaders who have indoctrinated their followers and turned themselves to gods.
The real need is to take leadership away from politics, governance and a few holders of it and bring it near home where the majority is. There is a need to take leadership from the thrones, palaces, government houses and bring on the desirable leadership patterns into our individual lives, homes, workplaces and teach it to children, the future leaders.
The real leadership is as described by Peter Drucker
“Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’ — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
Consider, the leadership over you, how much is it fulfilling this? Is there something to be free from? Freedom to any group of people would be emancipation from any source of threat, burden, stress, slavery. A little exercise to stretch our minds as we celebrate the Nigerian Independence and the 54th birthday: If you are given opportunity to be free from anything, what will it be? List those things, areas or issues. Then, highlight the gains of being free and how to achieve the freedom. If the said freedom would add positive value, then pursue and achieve!
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