The issue of leadership is what we cannot ignore or take with levity. Leadership is too critical an issue for us not to get it right. When we talk of leadership what most people do is to point fingers at those in the helm of affairs not realizing all of us are leaders. We are all leaders in different ways and in different sectors.
“While great leaders may be as rare as great runners, great actors, or great painters, everyone has leadership potential, just as everyone has some ability at running, acting, and painting.” Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus
We all have a dual role in life – we oscillate between being followers and being leaders. A boss in an office is a leader but a follower under the governor of the state. A class captain in a class leads his fellow students but is also under the leadership of the school principal. The school principal leads the school but is under the leadership of the school board.
Both the leaders and the followers are important. The leader cannot lead without people following him and the follower without the leader might never reach the desired destination.
“In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” Harry Truman
“To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where he is going.” Joe Namath
Leadership and follower-ship have different roles and we must be adept in both.
“The difference between followers and leaders is that followers need leaders to help them follow what leaders themselves are following. This relationship takes the form of a shared response-ability to a shared calling. Both find each other in a true fellowship to create the world responsibly.” James Maroosis
Leadership is about exercising influence. Leadership is about affecting people’s beliefs and actions with a view to getting things done.
“I think one of the keys to leadership is recognizing that everybody has gifts and talents. A good leader will learn how to harness those gifts toward the same goal.” Ben Carson,
If all of us get the issue of leadership right life will be better for all of us.
Leadership is primarily “who we are” before it becomes “what we do.” Not balancing this well will eventually lead to leadership failure. Most leaders give undue focus to the duties of leadership and ignore the engine that powers their activities – their personal development . It’s a disaster waiting to happen when a leader is not personally developed and does not have leadership life in him.
When a leader is developing personally and growing it is then his leadership will really be effective and enduring. It is who he is that will power what he does. To successfully carry out leadership functions a leader must have his leadership life – who he is- in good shape.
Leadership life is developed consciously by the leader through personal growth. A leader must grow and keep growing.
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