Saturday, 13 July, 2024

The good Shepherd!

icon, leader, leadership-1623888.jpg

Unless we have the right leaders doing the right things, we may never have the desired success. Leadership isn’t only about who to be; it’s also about what to be. A leader is a seer, seeker, servant, strategist, shepherd, sustainer, steward, and spokesman.

It doesn’t matter what type of organization you are in: leadership determines success. It is a critical variable in development calculus, and its dearth is the sole restrictive force that has barred some organizations from moving forward and upward. Let there be competent leaders, as many as are needed, and any movement would leap from recession to recovery, from limitation to liberation, from collective doom to continuous boom.

Leadership is influencing others to accomplish an objective. In the process, the leader keeps the various components of the organization steady and running so that the set objectives can be achieved. Here, stated in this simple explanation of leadership, is the basic thing that leaders are needed to do: To birth visions, take the organization to new heights and ensure it stays alive and runs well. For any organization, this translates into seven leadership roles.

*Dream. Leaders are needed to birth visions. Visions are dreams about the desired future state, an imaginative portrait of change. Without vision, development isn’t possible. For example, the people may be dissatisfied with the status quo and begin to press for novelties to turn the tide; but it takes a leader to conceive, characterize and crystallize the change so desired and then construct the mechanism for its realization.
*Decision. The running of any organization involves making appropriate decisions. While inputs may come from members, it is the leader who sets the stage, garners the inputs, and decides what holds and goes. Decision–making is the most crucial aspect of leadership. If decisions are wrong, the organization is heading for storms.
*Direction. A leader leads by giving others direction. Someone says a leader knows the way, shows the way, and goes the way. Thus, without a leader, an organization or a people are like a ship without a compass.
*Design. Any organization runs according to specific designs – operations, staffing, training, architecture, wages, and so on. The leader designs the models for all this and decides on their adoption.
*Development. Every organization needs leaders who can conduct diagnostic examinations of its moribund institutions and sleepy workforce, and inject them with appropriate revival measures. Without effective leadership, development isn’t possible.
The threat of the enemy is real. An organization needs protection from the crippling effects of sabotage from rival companies. A leader is needed to arrange defense and ensure there is a safety zone from where the organization or nation can operate.
*Discipline. An organization’s workforce requires both reinforcement and sanction to keep productivity high and ensure compliance to work ethics. Motivation helps to keep productivity up, but it is the discipline that builds an organization’s reputation.

Discipline and corporate control are vested in the leadership. The leader hands out the juicy carrot, but also wields the limber rod. The foregoing are the basic roles of leaders. They all add up to this: the leader’s duties are about taking the organization somewhere and ensuring it gets there. Thus, leadership is conceptualized in terms of change and progress. You don’t need leaders if you have settled on a plateau and all you want is to ensure that the clock ticks on as usual.

If you have come to rest and die, you should get a manager, or an administrator, who will ensure that things are done right, including your organization’s burial. If no change is contemplated, and no revolution is desired then leaders aren’t needed. But if you are seeking some sort of dramatic turnaround and a break of stale record, you need someone to make it happen – a leader.

A sleepy organization needs a push; hence the call for leaders. Leaders have become so scarce because we cop out of raising them. I won’t mention names, but many great past leaders didn’t leave successors. They were voices without echoes. Pick one leader among the great ones you know and see if he has left a lookalike. If organizations and institutions would create seedbeds for leadership capacity building, we might soon stop bemoaning the dearth of people with the brain and character needed to improve our collective existence.

For, make no mistake: human leaders aren’t heavenly creatures waiting for redeployment to the Earth. They are men and women around us who have the latent capacity to move people to achieve a set goal or arrive at a pre-determined destiny. They may be hidden from view, and we may have to pray and advertise to bring them out. But they are out there! They are raw and green and might be unaware of their leadership attributes.

But dust and brush them up through purposeful training and send them into the trenches. You’ve got generals out there on the front lines. There is a theory of leadership that accounts for the raising of leaders by this method. It is called the Trait Theory. This theory is similar to another one known as the Great Events Theory. It claims the existence of innate leadership qualities and attributes the emergence of a person as the leader to some great events, which help unlock his potential and put them into action.

John F. Kennedy provided some support for this theory. He had saved his crew from harrowing death by hungry sharks. The feat made him a hero. When asked how he did it, he replied with a shrug, “It was involuntary; they sank my boat.”

The application of both theories, however, yields a misleading assumption that leaders are born, not made. Our experience and those of great leaders contradict this claim. Granted that certain leadership traits might be inborn, a lot of leadership attributes are acquired, not inherited. Courage, integrity, character, love, judgment, and technical competence are just a few examples. The most acceptable theory is named Transformational Leadership Theory, which holds that people can choose to become leaders, by learning about the art and science of leadership through formal and informal means.

The first step in such a training process is to learn some general things about leadership, which I will outline. For easy grasp, I have used the acronym of the word “leadership” to outline some basic facts about leaders.

Love. Leaders are lovers; otherwise, they risk having treacherous yes-men on board.
Envisioning. Leaders are visionary people; they like moving things forward and are not comfortable with inertia.
Attitude. Leaders have a positive attitude about their tasks, the people and Life. They are incurable optimists.
Dynamism. He or she may not look like a muscle builder, but a leader isn’t a weakling with a chicken’s gait. He has enough brawn for the day’s job.
Empowerment. Effective leaders share their influence and spread their authority down the hierarchical lines. They empower subordinates.
Resilience. Leaders aren’t quitters. They may suffer a setback, but they are soon back in the trenches.
Stress Management. Leadership is stressful. But effective leaders know how to avoid burnout.
Heroism. Leaders harbor a success mentality and inevitably become heroes because they accomplish great things.
Integrity. This relates to moral uprightness. It’s the chief attribute of a leader. Without it, a leader loses his worth.
Passion. This relates to strong enthusiasm.

All great leaders are men who pursue their goals with passion. Leadership isn’t only about who to be; it’s also about what to be. A leader is a seer, seeker, servant, strategist, shepherd, sustainer, steward, and spokesman. These functional qualities speak volumes about the nature and type of leadership that your organization may needs

error: The love of the father is awesome!
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