Why leadership matters

In the light of the tremendous stress laid upon the leadership role in both secular and religious world, it is a general principle that we can influence and lead others only so far as we ourselves have gone. The person most likely to be successful is the one who leads not by merely pointing the way but by having trodden it himself. We are leaders to the extent that we inspire others to follow us.

So, for those of us that are in leadership positions, here are some timeless models for today’s leaders

Integrity:  Leaders are people of integrity.  They have every dimension of their lives centered in consistent obedience to God. There are no “closets,” no hidden areas that can’t bear public scrutiny. They live above board in their financial dealings, sexual behavior and in family life. No area of their lives is out of control. Physical, emotional and spiritual discipline is expressed.

Authenticity: Authenticity encompasses trustworthiness, openness, empathy and being real.

People are becoming very wary of leaders who are fake, narcissistic, secretive or self-serving. Teams are getting bolder at calling out destructive character traits that impact their livelihood and the corporate world. The best leaders today are authentic; it’s how we connect and build trust in our teams and organizations.

Vision:  As a leader you should have both foresight and insight. When you do, you will be able to envision the result of the policies, strategies or methods you advocate. You need always to look ahead to see how systems proposed will affect not only the present but succeeding generations.

Communication and soft skills: “Soft skills” like communication, listening and public speaking have become crucial in the day- to-day leadership and corporate environment. Without effective communication, as leaders you’re just a figurehead. Focusing on the interpersonal interactions, you can reach individuals where they are and connect better.

Open-mindedness: One of the most significant traits global leaders have is that they are exceptionally adaptable, which implies they will change course and adjust to additional active measures as soon as their paradigm becomes limiting.  They are also open to criticism and are readily accessible to run ideas by and open to communication. They gather ideas and information from a variety of political, economic and cultural sources, this gives them a well-rounded view, protects them from groupthink and fortifies what is true in their own heart and mind.

Diplomacy: Leadership demands skill in dealing with persons or sensitive situations.  As a leader, you need to have the ability to reconcile viewpoints without giving offense or compromising principle. In the leader and follower relationship, as a leader you must be able to conduct delicate negotiations and mediate in matters concerning personnel in a way that recognizes mutual rights and yet leads to a harmonious solution.

Self-control: Leaders cannot control their external world until they can control their internal world. The most potent form of government is self-government. The wise King Solomon once said, “He who is easing back to outrage is superior to the relentless, and he who governs his soul than he who takes a city.” Self- discipline is one of the significant characteristics of a leader. Indiscipline causes a leader to lose his or her influence.

Love:  Love helps a leader appreciate each person’s worth, recognize their potential and creates the desire to add value to them. When love is absent, greed, envy, selfishness, malice, rejection, hatred and such vices manifest in abundance. When you do not love the people you lead, it causes the spread of the cancer of self- centeredness in the system. The way leaders treat people is the way the people also treat one another.

Team building:  Leaders build a strong relationship with team members. Relationship matters, there is a place for good people skills. Connections are the magic that binds followers, and these relationships are built on trust, mutual respect, and loyalty. Certainly, there is a tendency for teams to be factionalized because of cultural, technological and ideological differences. As a leader, you need to develop effective skills to manage team conflict.

Steadiness: While remaining adaptable: Technological advancements are happening at a rapid pace, which affects the way leaders do business often. Inflexible leadership causes organizations to lag behind competitors, which could ultimately lead to losing market share – or worse, becoming obsolete. Staying on the cutting edge of any industry requires flexibility and the ability to adapt quickly to the changes in the marketplace for you as a leader and the team you lead.

Kenny Folarin, a success coach, conference speaker and leadership consultant who is also a Pastor and the Chief Operating Officer at Daystar Christian Centre, Lagos, can be reached at kennyfolarind@gmail.com.

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