Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja The Presidency has urged Nigerians to ignore northern leaders who recently faulted the way President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was handling the nation’s security challenges, describing them as ‘selfish leaders.’ The leaders of some socio-cultural organisations led by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had issued a communiqué accusing President Buhari’s administration of incompetence…
A leader is the head of a group, institution or nation. This broad definition of leadership implies that everyone is a leader at different levels. In your life time you’d find yourself in a position of leadership because you must take responsibility to lead, take the initiative, act, or do something on behalf of yourself or some people, whether you like it or not.
So, folks, better be prepared. Leadership is attained by nature and nurture. Therefore, preparation or grooming is the first course you take on leadership. This is done either through deliberate, systematic training from the home level or you as an individual goes on to train yourself. The absence of proper grooming produces leadership failure. The appalling leadership deficit in our polity is a direct consequence of a general lack of mentoring, or systematic grooming of our leaders.
Leadership training begins at the home. For various reasons, most homes today have very weak foundations. Many homes are now headed by single, working mothers with children whose fathers are nowhere to be found. When kids like these grow up without a father-figure, who ought to be a role model or mentor, they became leaderless since there is no one to inspire and impart them. Of course, some strong, disciplined single mothers are still able to groom good children who go on to become great, but that’s not the ideal.
For single fathers the story is even worse. Raising kids alone is such a daunting task and God help you if you have a girl child; it can be a nightmare. Living with adolescent children without a good mother to check-mate them could be a nasty experience. Parenting, whether as single father or mother, foster parents, step-parents, or co-habiting parents is a big responsibility because it is like managing a group of people with diverse personalities that stretches your leadership skills. So, let’s give it to parents.
The home is the greatest center of leadership training. It is the academy where young children incubate until they develop into leaders, through a systemic process of ethical training and personal development. Parents keep watch over children as they grow from babies into mature adults.
During this period, which starts from when they are born till they are about 18 years of age, character is developed and personality is formed. Some become relatively independent, as they transit from nursery, primary and secondary school into university undergraduates. They become self-conscious and their confidence level grows. They exercise their will, know what they want and develop a focus in life, by learning from parents, neighbours, associates, friends, fellow students, teachers and other peers.
Leadership training runs its first full cycle when children graduate from the university or apprenticeship at about the age of 21/24, depending on the student, the course of study and other peculiar circumstances. How a person is nurtured from childhood at a home would, to a very large extent, influence their world view, character, belief system, etc.
Post-graduation life puts you squarely in the ring. There you face the harsh realities of existence and the leadership skills you have learned at home and in school are tested with every decision you make to win life’s epic battles. The next capsule you’ll take as a young person leading your own life is decision-making. Whatever result you get in anything you do is a function of the decision you take per time.
Learn to digest this capsule, no matter how bitter. As you commence another cycle in leadership training after graduation from the school/parents leadership academy, your capacity to make good judgment based on the gathering of facts on specific cases, determines the quality of your final decision and the outcome you get.
Success in any venture in life is a decision. You must, therefore develop a knack for making good decisions through sound, balanced, unbiased judgments. You’d be called upon to lead if you display a success attitude or winning mentality. The world loves success and only champions are celebrated. But, hey, know for a truth that you’d have to face defeat sometimes before you succeed.
One way to succeed as a leader is to drink from the cistern of wisdom a mentor offers. After you have stepped out of the ambit of your parents, you need others to nurture you. Get a good mentor in your field and learn under such a person. Also, get books written about leadership and leaders in your area of specialty and study them. Good leaders are wide readers of books. Make sure you study well. You must be ahead of those you lead, that’s why they look up to you. Biographies of leaders you admire across different disciplines is a good raw material for you to develop your leadership skills.
There are many qualities a leader should have like courage, strength, endurance, wisdom education, strong morals, love of people, inter-personal skills fear of God balanced character, good sense, etc. All of these and many more, you’ll develop along the way. You’d need these traits to succeed as leader in whatever field you find yourself and regardless of your gender, race, creed or religion.
Finally, dearly beloved, please, pray always to God. That’s the best capsule I can give to you
Weekend Spice: Studies serve for delight, for ornaments, and for ability- Francis Bacon.
Ok, folks, thank God it’s Friday. Enjoy your weekend and stay motivated!
Ladi Ayodeji is an Author, Conference Speaker/Pastor and life coach. He can be reached at [email protected] and 09059243004 (sms only).