This is Leadership: Homestretch

This is Leadership: Leader reflections

…it’s not about how you start the race

There are different leadership styles and character patterns comparing leaders (either male or female). As a fact, character is very crucial in defining a leader and this is the very reason why some experts and leadership authorities propose that leadership trainees and mentees focus on building comprehensive character towards leadership development.

Character, which is central to the moral and mental qualities of a person, clearly provides good justification to distinguish one individual from the other from leadership perspective. It is believed that what extricates a good leader from an incompetent one is their degree of concern for people and concern for productivity and how they both manage crises and change. Harvard Business Review (2011) on change management features John P. Kotter.

One interesting revelation for me was on ‘why transformation efforts fail’. As part of my understanding and subsequently diving deep into his mindset on change management as also authoritatively broken down into smaller units by Michael Beer and Kurt Lewin (Hughes et al 2015, Armstrong 2004), I deliberately group interesting colours to indelibly bring out the beauty in leadership patterns.

One powerful ingredient in Leadership is the staying power. I call it the homestretch. You can also call it the home straight, if you like. It is fully accepted. In athletics, it can also be referred to as the final straight or the final stretch of any kind of race. I always enjoyed watching the ten thousand metres race anywhere, any day. Beautiful lesson learned. It is not about how you start the race. It’s everything to do with how you end the race.

The homestretch is about staying power. It is about mental toughness. When you reflect on leadership as a discipline to transform situations you’ll appreciate that athletes that run the thousand metres race don’t win because they are strong in their legs and shoulders. They win because they understand the concept of homestretch. Surviving to progress within the homestretch requires strength. It is a mind thing.

Strength is not in the arms, it is in the mind (Ahenkorah 2018). The homestretch comes to test your strength mentally and physically. It asks the sensitive questions. Was that a good start? How do I finish the race? In the middle of the race, key questions come in at some point; how do I take the right steps and how do I measure my strides? Must I walk, pause or sprint? Should I scream, cry, laugh or wait until I cross the finish line? Do I have a cheer group with me without no hypocrisy? How do I motivate myself on this journey? If we are not able to answer these questions, we often breakdown on the expedition.

It doesn’t matter if the leader is a male or a female. If you are inclined to understand what homestretch really means and you build staying power to manage crisis and shocks on your leadership journey, you’ll remain unwavering even when the tower angles because you’d have built character, positive attitude and supreme behaviors towards leadership development.


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