In the last ten years, I have been to scores of places to speak on the decisive and significant area that is under discussion today. I am so clear in my mind that it is going to append a titanic value to you, your home and the company you lead. Buddy, are you ready to savour the meal that I have got to hand round today? If yes, do button up your seat belt and let us have a ride into the world of knowledge.
Two months ago, I was at a meeting to speak to about 100 parents (leaders) on this crucial issue and after I stepped down from the raised area that was provided for me to speak from, many parents were able to see eye to eye with me that they unwittingly and erroneously started some avoidable crisis in their homes. How do I mean? When a father makes a ‘coat of many colours’ for just a member of the family, he is setting him or her up for hatred and envy from the rest of the family. The issue I am raising today is a very fundamental one.
Today, many families are crisis-ridden, because a family member is perceptibly loved more than others, making a ‘multicolour tunic’ for him without making for other members of the family. This parental (leadership) boo-boo has led to many deep crises in homes across planet earth. Please, understand that each time you love a member of the family you are leading and he or she is given a ‘coat of many colours’, you are actually setting him or her up for hatred and envy.
About two years ago, I was called upon to proffer a solution to and a way out of a crisis in an organization—as an effect of a ‘multi-coloured tunic’ that was made for just one employee in an organization that had 80 employees. When this happened, the entire workforce began to resent and disgust the staff in question. And beyond loathing and envying him, their level of commitment dropped, because they felt unloved by the arrow-head of the company.
What did I do to solve the crisis and predicament that did hit and slap the company? It was very simple and undemanding: I made the arrow-head of the company make ‘multi-coloured tunics’ for them all! And within a few weeks, their level of commitment surged and hatred and envy gave way to love, unity and collaboration.
I have studied the history of Nigeria from the foundation to roof joist. Each time either a political or military leader emerges in Nigeria; he always makes ‘multi-coloured tunics’ for his own people—without making for folks of other tribes. Over the years, it is an error that has caused many crises in Nigeria. When ‘multi-coloured tunics’ are made for people of a tribe without making them for people of other tribes, people of other ethnic groups will hate and envy the people that wear ‘multi-coloured tunics.’ If the current president of Nigeria wants to solve some of the major problems facing Nigeria, then he needs to ensure that he makes ‘coats of many colours’ for everyone in Nigeria and not for his people alone. If he wants to construct roads, he should make sure he spreads it across the length and breadth of the country. Whatever he wants to do, he should make sure that it touches everyone in Nigeria. This is the only way—love can take the place of envy and hatred in our beloved country.
Crisis begins in any nation where a tribe is obviously loved more than other tribes. When a president cannot afford to make ‘multi-coloured tunics’ for everyone in the country, he or she should not make for anyone under his or her leadership. Am I saying that it is not possible to love a follower more than others? Of course, it is possible, but you need to have enough leadership intelligence not to show it to others who are within your sphere of influence. If you do, you are going to shoot yourself in the foot.
I read about a man who led a big and peaceful family. The family in question continued to be peaceful until the children began to see that the arrow-head of the family loved one of them more than the rest of them. When this happened, peace gave way to hatred and envy. And where peace was reigning and ruling began to witness the reign and rule of hatred and envy. Remember, as it is in families, so it is in corporate organizations, higher places of learning, government agencies and corridors of power.
For the umpteenth time, I am not saying that it is not possible to love a follower more than you love others who are within your sphere of influence, but you need to have enough leadership intelligence not to let others know. There are so many reasons that can make a leader love a team member more than others. It could be because of his or loyalty. And it could be because he or she consistently delivers exceptional results. But to protect the head of the follower in question, do not make a ‘multi-coloured tunic’ for him, on the condition that you cannot afford to make it for them all.
As I set in motion to coast home today, please understand me that you may not love your followers uniformly, but all of them must see that you treat them evenly. Once they start to see that you do not treat them equally in the company, different kinds of crises shall erupt and in due course, the productivity of the company shall start to nose-dive.
Are you a leader? If yes, I appeal and request that you shield the head of your star-performer personnel. Do not let others know that you love him or her more than them. You may need to find a way to discreetly and clandestinely reward him or her, but it must not be seen that you love him or her more than others on the team. If you do, you are setting him or her up for hatred and envy.
Lastly, it is an infrequent wisdom in leadership to find a way to openly treat one’s followers equally. It must be seen that they are treated evenly. And if a ‘coat of many colours’ would be made for one, make sure it is made for others too. And if you cannot afford to make it for them all, do not just single out one of them, decorating him or her with a ‘multi-coloured tunic’.
See you where great people are found!