A leader is a person who can paint a picture that will make people leave their present to pursue a future
As Kenya prepares for elections, the talk is about leadership loud.
For over five decades, whenever I ask people about our problem as Africa, they say it’s leadership. What or who is a leader?
There is a difference between a leader and an officer. Many people who seek high office and lobby do so because of the illusion that if they get to the top they will become leaders.
A leader is someone who sets the pace ; someone you can follow to a place you don’t know. A leader is a person who can paint a picture that will make people leave their present to pursue a future. A leader puts the thoughts of others into words.
True leadership must be transformative. Leaders need to take the organization or business from egg to butterfly.
In Africa we see many political officials with no plans for retirement. That’s because they have no vision of a future after they’re out of office. Transformation begins on a personal level. If they are unable to lead themselves from one form of their lives to another, how can they lead a nation effectively?
Unless their vision for tomorrow is stronger than their comfort today , they will remain prisoners from today.
Africans have a kingdom mentality in which there is a strong king and weak followers. We believe in leaders leading followers, but true leadership is when leaders lead leaders.
I call this the 3L leadership model – Leaders Leading Leaders. Everyone is made to be a leader. Nobody was made to be weak. In a fight between a lion and a shark, terrain decides the outcome.
True leaders help team members discover their terrain of strength and guide them from unconscious incompetence through conscious incompetence to conscious competence.< /p>< p>The stupidity of many local African organizations is that they are built around a strong visionary and weak followers. The strength of a vision is determined by the quality of its subscribers. Getting people smarter than you to follow your vision is a trait of a leader. There is no joy in being the smartest of the fools or the most learned of the ignorant.
Leadership builds strong personal brands, and true leaders are people of faith. You are not afraid to be different. They don’t shy away from trouble, but stand up for what they believe in, even if it’s not popular. Like the eagle, they do not shrink from the storm. You can rise and fly above the clouds. They are not defined by their office.
Nelson Mandela’s definition of leadership did not come from the fact that he was President of South Africa. His personal brand was larger than the office, and his stature outside the office was larger than that in the office. True leaders do not need a defined office. They define the office.
True leadership does not rule through intimidation or coercion, but through inspiration. Leaders point out your greatness and potential, and don’t always remind you of their own strengths or positions. True leadership opens your eyes to the fact that while you may be unemployed right now, there is an employer within you. Even if you are currently sharing accommodation, there is a landlord in you. True leaders remind you that although you are a prisoner for the moment, there is a president within you.
Are you looking for the next great African leader? look in the mirror This leader will stare at you.
Wale Akinyemi is the Convenor of Street University (www.thestreetuniversity.com) and Chief Transformation Officer of PowerTalks. [emailprotected]