In an age when an alarming majority increasingly ‘excellencify’ nonsense and ‘nonsensify’ excellence, many of us may fall to the temptation of dismissing the caption as a frivolous question. That would not be strange. In fact, it will be totally in sync with the caption itself and its matters arising. Nigeria is where she is today, because Nigerians take too much for granted.
Back to the poser of the day. Whatever your answer is, the follow-up question is: do you think your subordinates liking you or not is that significant and of any use? That is, can that affect you as a person, plus your personal and group productivity and success? My three-decade-old experience -garnered from studying leadership-followership relationship and output- confirms conclusively and unassailably that how team members or people see their leader can affect not only his/her self confidence and performance but also their support and work rate as well as overall result(s)!
That being so, the subjectivity of this conclusion notwithstanding, it should surprise no one why almost all leaders in this country draw blank when it comes to what I call the midterm and final outcomes of leadership. Once a Nigerian gets power, such a one forgets that it is just the beginning, not the end; prologue, not epilogue. To be sure, this discourse far transcends political leaders. This covers such other formal and informal leaders, as well.
Let’s get down to the specificities of the matter. Please get me on a conference call first with President Muhammadu Buhari, my state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and his 35 colleagues, my Local Government chairman, Rt. Hon. Henry Isaiah Udofia and his 773 colleagues. Now, Your Excellencies, beyond the ritualistic meetings of the Executive Council, how often do you meet or talk or relate with your Ministers, Commissioners and Supervisors? Okay, I understand the deafening silence and a few persistent throat-clearing, so let’s make progress.
Even in the legislature, where the boss should just be first among equals Nigeria has not been that blessed; except in very few cases. One hears the same murmurs and grumblings in the judiciary which ought to epitomise ‘El Doradoistic’ leadership. What about legislative committee heads, judges, Ministers, Commissioners and Supervisors: are they themselves fair to people working under or with them? And, the beat goes on -and on, and on!
It plays all the way to permanent secretaries, directors, deputy directors, assistant directors and down to the non-graders. That explains the madness you see on the dance floors of our public and civil services. Not being able to understand the frustration, citizens resort to calling our civil servants names. Have we ever bothered to look at their working conditions and emotional state arising from relationships with their political and service bosses?
In the informal sector of leadership, a man or woman who wants to be seen as a hard husband or wife, father or mother, or friend attracts no love, no support and can therefore as a leader be nothing but a monstrous failure. Formally and informally, a frowning boss or one who’s too busy or too big to have a relationship with his/her team members or people is a horrible leader. (S)he evinces nor mobilises no result. This is why Nigeria is in this hole: followers are not following because leaders are not leading!
Dear Leader, rather than complain that your people are uncharitable to you, please come down from your high horse and let’s meet minds. See, you would gain tremendous synergy and traction by drawing your team members and others close. Apart from talking, also listen -really listen- to them. Next, have the generosity of heart to provide modern tools and favourable space so you could have the moral authority to fire and query where and when they fall short. Above all, have the patience of God and the humility of Christ not only to explain to them when you cannot meet their expectation but also to understand why and how they fell below yours!
That is how leadership works, and it is the major reason -not your achievements- that people cherish you during and after your heyday. Build all the monuments for your people, if your relationship with them is master-servant instead of friend-friends, your family and you shall live in misery, post-office. Leadership should be a win-win formula that enables the leader and the led to smile even in pains, with everyone lovingly, understandingly and altruistically pushing in the same direction until target is met. God bless Nigeria!
Russia 2018 may predict Nigeria 2019
That’s a queer thing to say, right? Wrong, except you have not been following the build-up to the World Cup. Ten days to kick off, and with underdogs Austria stinking favourites Germany 2-1 in a friendly last Saturday, it is not difficult to bet that this might be a shock mondiale!
Our next general elections might spring some surprises here and there. While incumbents carry on as if 2019 would be a rehash of 2015, their challengers are working underground like coup plotters who know their onions. But, those who know would tell you that these things are more than work or speed only.