“You can change tomorrow if you don’t like today”
Leadership is one word that is constantly going through scrutiny. It is fascinating rather than surprising. !e point is, until leaders live to lead leadership remains ambiguous to me. Teams need leaders who will lead by the word! People have the urge but when they get into that space to exhibit leadership to the fullest, they blip. It is worth mentioning that, I will dig into the book authored by Hughes et al (2015).
It gives a clue that people must begin to appreciate leadership to include the interactions between the leader, the follower and the situation. Fact! This starts the crucial process in appreciating what leadership really means. Several books define and subsequently describe leadership in many ways. I wish I could paint and take you through a mysterious journey on my definition of leadership. I see someone influencing others to do what arts and science couldn’t explain. That’s leadership to me.
I see someone gathered around by a team, and within the same expression, I see the same person within the same description moving ahead of the team and the people keep longing for him. This is a picture on my mind. The interesting thing within the picture is that the leader has the masterplan to induce the follower to fix situations and the followers are delivering on tasks not because they ‘have to’ but because they ‘want to’. Which is why, I am inspired by Maxwell (2015) that everything rises and falls on leadership. How about Norman Schwarzkopf’s provoking thoughts on leadership. He said and I quote ‘leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character and if I have to make a choice, I’ll go for the latter’.
Can you just look around and ask yourself; do people in high authorities either in politics or business have character? Yes character! I bet (not on my last coin though), you will find less than 25% who will show true character. Do not look very far because the base rate for bad leadership is between 50%- 75% (Hughes et al 2015). Leaders must have character. 21st century leaders must develop personality types worthy of emulation. The originality in a leader’s personality must be edifying. A leader with leadership character must be a moral person with principles developed to serve.
He must also be a moral manager who makes ethics unequivocal in all his dealings (formal and informal). As a matter of fact, a leader with the required character needed for leadership success must live the three key moral potencies: moral courage, moral efficacy and moral ownership (Hughes et al 2015). A leader must build fortitude to face his fears. A leader must own his words.
Finally, a leader must be confident to overcome adversities. When followers don’t see these traits and qualities in their leaders, they question the leader’s judgment, decisions and character. Most followers are following out of curiosity. They are not sure of the reasons why they follow a certain ‘leader’. This is why most institutions are in a mess. Instead of leaders influencing teams to achieve desired goals, they exert power to please their whims and fads. In effect, followers are not inspired. Followers work in fear. Followers wished their leaders leave instead of wishing they live, and it’s sad. Leaders need upgrade. Continuous learning.
Leaders need new skills. Leaders need new ears to listen. Leaders should not just have eyes. Leaders need vision. Vision is foresightedness. Every leader must have one. A leader must see ahead and always see the end from the beginning, so to draw the future closer to the present and to run with the present to the future, having assessed the many corollaries of the journey.
Inevitably, there comes a time when the leader must leave the scene. It behaves on leaders to rethink and have a closer look at their legacy, their relevance and the opportunities they’ll leave behind. The only way to do this is to inspire confidence and show the way so leaders can reproduce their kind through the simple concept of mirroring. If the world can reproduce your attitude to evolve your kind to change the world positively, then you are on a beautiful journey to die so others can live.
You are a product of your past. Be conscious to invest in yourself today. Who you are today is as a result of the happenings and decisions of your past. You can change tomorrow if you don’t like your situation today. You need to commit to good decisions today to change tomorrow. What you become tomorrow is also as a result of the decisions you’ll make today. You’ll be happy or sad today because of the decisions you made yesterday. As the stone rolls, you’ll be happy or sad tomorrow because of what you’ll choose to do today. Leadership is not only about legacy. It’s also about relevance.
Paint your vision.