Reflections With Funmi: Nigeria; In Search Of Good Leadership

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”Revolution is not a moment or a day, it is a way of life” –  Tupac, Musician.

 ”In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing trivial things, ultimately, we become enslaved by it.” – Robert Heinlein.

Some years ago, a soft drink company (in Nigeria), came up with an advertising campaign termed ”GENERATION NEXT” – let’s borrow that particular campaign theme; GENERATION NEXT, as we begin to look into some of the basic requirements for leadership in this era and for the future, while preparing ourselves for electing the next generation of leaders, however, these requirements are also essential for followership.

If the maxim: ‘like leaders, like followers’ is anything to go by, then we need to work on the quality of our minds as followers too, so as to be able to know, demand and work towards getting accurate and 21st century savvy leadership, especially for a complex country like ours; such leadership that will not lack the charisma to lead actively, with all sense of responsibility required to deliver, not just giving excuses for non performance.

It is imperative that the in-coming generation of leaders that will come forth from these pool of followers in the nearest future, understand what is required of them.

Let us begin to highlight some of these requirements as follows:

– COMMUNICATION SKILLS

”We need leaders who inspires idealism, leaders to whom are granted great visions, who dream great things and strive to make their dreams come true; who can kindle the people with the fire from their own burning souls” – Theodore Roosevelt

” Words can do more than convey policy. They can also convey and create a mood, an attitude, an atmosphere or an awakening.” John F Kennedy

One key attribute of a leader is the ability to communicate rightly and effectively.

A leader must be eloquent in speech, coherent in thoughts and delivery, exude confidence and believable.

The body language of such a leader must be in sync with his choice of words and mode of delivery, such that his people will understand all he intends to pass across and acts accordingly, else he risks sending out confusing signals to his team/people.

The non verbal aspect of leadership communication skills are as potent, if not more than the spoken words, it is not so much about what the leader has to say but how such leader has digested that same ideology and make it a part of him, that will reflect in the way he pass such idea along to his followers.

– COURAGE

”Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemmingway

”Courage is rightly esteemed the first of all human qualities, because it is the quality that guarantee all other” – Winston Churchill.

In a time of uncertainty any team or group of people needs a courageous leader than can communicate effectively, empathise when necessary, be firm in decision makings and stern in carrying out the decisions made.

– CONFIDENCE:

Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective – Wikipedia.

Confidence is full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.

Confidence is built overtime between a leader and the people, they watch how s/he communicates, what such a leader is able to stake for the actualisation of his goal for the people he is leading, espeacially in achieving a general good.

– SELF ESTEEM

This is also a daily requirement of leadership and of course followership, there’s a thin line between leadership self esteem and/or arrogance.

We all need to watch this aspect of our communication so we don’t fall a victim of arrogance.

Although some use Confidence and Self esteem interchangeably, both have unique and distinct features, while it is possible to be confident and have low self esteem, its is NOT possible to have a healthy self esteem without being confident, both in his personal abilities and other people’s unique abilities.

Healthy self esteem helps to maintain composure in the midst of turbulence, it makes it easy to see the good in others and work with such mindset that is based on achieving a set goal for the benefit of all, it doesn’t matter who takes the credit.

It takes a leader with healthy self esteem to listen to and work with people who disagree with some of his policies, concede to superior and qualitative argument from his team (or surbodinates), create opportunity for such an idea to blossom and achieve a greater result for all.

A divisive or insecure leader may shoot such superior idea down – mainly because its coming from someone else, create destructive landmine for the subordinates or accuse such brilliant team member(s) of insubordination, out of his own insecurity.

– OPTIMISM

A leader needs to be optimistic that the challenge the people are faced with are not insurmountable, yet s/he needs to be truthful enough with the followers that they may know the gravity ( of the situations they are in.) and be prepared to pay any price required of them as sacrifice to get to the better future, dreamed of by the leader and effectively communicated.

It will do such a leader more good than evil to be open with his people, than allow them go on a guess trip or make private deductions that are not founded on truth and may be inimical to the entire system.

Truth must not be sacrificed on the altar of optimism – that may be careless and dangerous.

– ACCURATE ADVISERS;

Anyone who is going to succeed MUST known how to choose the right team to prosecute any given task.

Every leader is as good as his/her team, such a leader that revels in egoistic sentiments and petty self glorification, may reduced his people to such a level that they can’t bring the true position of some things to him, for fear of bruising his ego, being misunderstood, losing their job or position, etc 

However, such a leader who can listen, and work on negative feedback will get better individually and the team/people will do better collectively.

Conclusion: these attributes and many more are what we need to look for in those who present themselves for electoral offices, as we gradually move towards the next election period, for new sets of leaders.

There’s an urgent need for a revolution in the quality of the people we are, our expectations of leadership, our collective mindset and preparedness to work, in getting to our desired haven as a people.

Our GENERATION NEXT of leaders, from the local governments to the State Government, to the Presidency, state assemblies and the entire National Assembly, all tiers of government must be savvy in governance and deliverables – we must say no to all and any form of cluelessness from our leaders in issues of governance and in pro-active decision taking on issues that concerns us as a people or even any form of outright display of wickedness across board – it’s time for capacity building and rebuilding – as the case may be.

We may not get it 100% right this time, but we can as well start it right now, by setting new standards and pace in the upcoming elections and taking it higher in subsequent ones.

May God Bless Nigerians and Nigeria.

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