Leadership is a high calling, it is not for those who wish to feather their nests, it is for those who are desirous of improving the lot of others. It is for those who are willing to spend and be spent; it is for those who have little or no need for personal comfort.” – Suleimon Olarewaju
Whether we like it or not, we would all reach a stage where we would have to either lead oneself, lead a family, congregation or lead a large group of people. Thus, leadership is an inevitable calling and because of this amazing truth, it can be concluded that we all have the traits of leadership deposited and flaming in us all. Either we deliberately chose to lead, or we are call to lead by the people around us based on the leadership qualities we have demonstrated, leadership is what we cannot run away from.
So when our leadership calling unfolds, there is nothing we can do to either dodge it, reject it or abandon it. Its evolution will bring the demand on us to choose the path we want to thread in the history of the people we lead. We will be left with no choice than to choose to maintain a position from either being a libertarian, revolutionary, transformational or autocratic leader and whichever one we choose will influence how we sail the ship of our leadership journey.
Ordinary people build monuments,” says Tope Popoola, “Leaders build legacies.” The import of Tope Popoola’s assertion is that it is not only when we attain leadership position by the permission given to us by our followers that we can claim to be a leader, someone can also be acknowledged as a leader when he/she is doing what will transform his life and the lives of people around him. To him/her, all his actions and dealings are about restoration of hope and influencing standards that will outlive him.
There is something that differentiates remarkable and extraordinary leaders from ordinary leaders. From the onset, extraordinary and remarkable leaders have identified what programs they have to engage in, what policies they have to formulate to address the deficiency in the area of legislation and what steps and actions are to be taken to redress the welfare of their followers in order to improve their standard of living. Suleimon Olanrewaju surmised that, “Leaders are not called to maintain status quo because status quo speaks of stagnation and limitation.”
The secret of leaders that has defeated limitations and emancipate from stagnation is their understanding of meaning of every alphabets that constitute the word “leaders.” With this, their perspicuity of roles, functions and challenges of leadership is unlocked. This also makes it imperative for us to share the meaning of those alphabets to ourselves:
The foundation of every competent and exemplary leaders is their abilities to learn, which has makes them portrayed their leadership journey as a process, rather than perceiving it as a destination. In the course of discharging leadership responsibilities, challenges will evolve. But what empower any leader to face those challenges and overcome them is how he/she is updating him/herself with facts, figures, trends and knowledge of dynamics of every attributes constituting the subjects he/she is leading.
Successful leaders have found that one of the secrets of leadership is to possess unlimited passion and drives for what and whom you are call to lead. It is undisputable that even to lead yourself and transform your course, you have to be igniting the zeal that are infectious and intoxicating so that your followers will be motivated and inspired to rise to the charisma and capabilities you have exemplified. Not that alone, if you are an enthusiastic leader, you hardly get drained by what is stopping you from achieving your objectives in your leadership quest.
The bridge of any leadership journey is the action leaders are taking to change the narratives, to bring forte and comfort to their subjects. Even, in societies that are perceived as the most economic virile, robust and friendly, their leaders also act on their needs, tackle exigencies and plan for their future. Any leader that overlooks the importance of action in his leadership endeavour is imprisoning him/herself to the failures that a little attempt to act could have avoid.
Leaders always find themselves in situations where they have to make resolves and convictions on what has to be done to improve the lives of their subjects. Distinguished leaders have found that every situation they face in leadership requires them to make choices and follow it with actions. When leaders are not decisive in combating issues affecting them or their followers, they posed threat to their followers’ survival and leaves them in state of confusion and dilemma.
Every leader must possess this quality in order to fit into the frame of leadership. Empathy is more than sympathy because it goes beyond understanding how your followers feel, but to be feeling the same way your followers feel. Lack of empathy has been one of the major gap that is distancing leaders from their followers. For you to raise your leadership presence, cultivate empathy!
Leaders emerge every time when something is missing, and how leaders respond to this need will transform into effects that will crest lasting impressions and enduring love on the minds of their followers. It is unfortunate that not every leaders live up to this demand, but successful leaders make their marks by being of significance in the lives of the people they lead!
This is the hallmark of every leadership position. This requires that a leader should not perceive him/herself as a person who weird power and influence to abuse followers, but one who is call to serve the people by taking the lead role and always ignite in them a cause to believe. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “The leader of a group is, their chief servant.”
The essence of leadership is not in the title or status attached to the position, it is in the values, impacts and differences leaders are made with their positions. When dealings become what leaders initiate and execute to redefine the worth and welfare of their followers, they create marks of legacies their followers would be excited to uphold and share with posterity!
Sulyman Sodeeq Abdulakeem is a writer who co-authored the book “Responsible Living: Live to Fulfill Your Potential.”