In part one of this article series, I tried to define who a leader really is and isn’t. Then, I identified the elements of leadership, values that a true leader must possess, and what makes a leader succeed. In this article, I continue to highlight important ideas relevant to bridging the leadership gap in any organization you might find yourself.

The stones of Leadership

This is how you can bridge the leadership gap in your organization.

1. Crystallize/solidify your thinking

What do we want?

Why do we want it?

Why do we not already have it?

Can we obtain it?

How will we measure it?

Whom will it affect?

Whom will it benefit?

Where will it lead us?

These are vital questions that every true leader or entrepreneur must think through if success is their key. Leaders must, therefore, learn to develop a crystallized mission.

“If you don’t have goals, there is nothing to accomplish.”

If there is one thing that is clear from a century of leadership research, it is this – Leaders have a clear and often obsessive sense of what they want to achieve.  But sad enough, most heads of organizations and most of our African political leaders don’t have goals at all.

  • Leadership is not POSITION, leadership is RESPONSIBILITY.
  • It’s also not the place you SIT, but the WORK you DO.
  • Leadership is not HEAD talk, leadership is HEART talk.
  • A heart leader is a million times more effective than a head leader. 

2. Develop a written and balanced plan of action

Your goals must be:

  • written and specific
  • your own
  • stated positively
  • realistic and attainable
  • must include personality changes – to become.

Six areas of life that make up the total person or gives a balanced life

  1. Family and home
  2. Mental and educational
  3. Financial and career
  4. Physical and health
  5. Social and cultural
  6. Spiritual and ethical

Becoming successful is one thing. Living and leading a balanced successful life is another ball game. 

3. Create desire and passion

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

True and successful leadership requires strong desire and passion. Note that desire and passion are not things you sleep and get in a dream; they are virtues you create, build, and generate. These are virtues you work to get. Your passions, zeal, and desire must be strong enough to enable you to lead a successful business, organization or nation. You need to have a never-giving-up attitude until what you have in your mind looks like what you have in your head.

You need to have a never-giving-up attitude until what you have in your mind looks like what you have in your head.          

But funny enough, we have lots of leaders without passion or desire, that’s why you see them sleep in their offices during work and during sessions. Many of them today, don’t have either their job, organization or nation at heart. All they care about is their belly, the reason they can even go as far as stealing from their own pockets.

The art of leadership is an embarrassment in Africa, both at the personal and general levels. We need to wake up. But first, it must begin from personal leadership before it can get to the public. Leadership is key, both success and failure rotate around it.

Five steps to rekindle your desire and passion for good leadership

– Strive to gain self-knowledge.

– Make sure that the goals, targets, and rewards are personally meaningful.

– Work to find wisdom and knowledge in those who are in a position to advise you.

– Visualize your success.

– Be willing to work harder than you’ve ever worked before.

“It’s passion probably more than anything else that separates the A’s from the B’s.” 

Let me quickly say this; there is one common epidemic among most leaders either at the personal or general level. I call it the arrogance epidemic. And this epidemic stems from the misconception of the true definition of the word, leadership. Listen, guys, leadership simply means servanthood. A leader in the truest sense of the word means a servant. If you are called, appointed, delegated or even elected to lead a group of people, you have been called into Servantship, not Lordship.

“It's passion probably more than anything else that separates the A’s from the B’s.” 

Our leaders and upcoming leaders should get this clear before they start acting as if they created this world. Please, if you truly want to be a great leader, shun arrogance, learn humility and always have a coach or a mentor because real leaders require continuous learning.

4. Develop confidence and trust

“This may be a networked world, but a virtual trust is an illusion. Trust develops when we get to know each other. There is no substitute for spending time with people face-to-face.” 

5. Develop a team spirit from this movie!

Spartacus – 73 BC – leader against the Roman Empire. In 71 BC, he died in a battle, but the Romans didn’t know he died. Each follower continued fighting. They captured the gladiators and questioned them. Each said, “I’m Spartacus.” Furious, the Romans crucified them all.

My question to you is, if the Romans came to your organization today, how would your followers respond? Betray you or believe in your cause enough to risk something or themselves in your name?

“Trust men and they will be true to you. Trust them greatly and they will show themselves great.” 

Most organizational leaders have low self-esteem, so they use violence to intimidate followers they think are better off than them.

Listen, you can never lead people beyond your level of knowledge. So, go grab some more info and stop fighting your subordinates. Knowledge, they say is power, and if you need power as a leader, spend your time, resources and energy to acquire some more knowledge.

Knowledge makes a man self-confident, so one of the fastest ways of building your confidence is to acquire knowledge.

“It’s fine to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test.” 

Some leaders don’t also have foresight, that’s why they can’t see the good in any of their subordinates. Continuity and true leadership is your ability to see the greatness in your subordinates and nurture them to fruition. Leadership is all about passing over the baton.

It’s like the kind of marathon race we did in the primary school, where you pass the baton to the next person and so on; no one athlete is permitted to run the race till the end, leadership is continuity.

You know, sometimes it amazes me how we have leaders who want to rule us forever. As a good leader, the only way to see how good or how poor you have performed is to hand over the mantle or baton of leadership to your successor. This is because the eye that sees far cannot see itself. Sometimes, CEOs of companies, leaders of organizations, presidents of nations should just hand over power and watch how their subordinate leads. This will take me to my next point; LEADERSHIP is all about distributing responsibility.

6. Foster commitment and responsibility

Don’t quit!

“When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore.”

Four elements of persistence

  1. Raw determination, which is the refusal to give up, to quit or to be defeated.
  2. Patience to willingly keep at a job, task or goal despite temporary setbacks and encroaching difficulties.
  3. A justifiable sense of pride for using more of your full potential for success.
  4. A willingness to take appropriate risks in order to ensure the achievement of a goal.

Effective leaders rely upon adversity to call up the best that is within them. All leaders will face problems.

Leaders are courageous

Have the courage to dream.

Leaders bear the responsibility of sharing the necessity for dreaming with team members who may lack the courage to visualize greater achievement.

Have the courage to face yourself. Have the courage to start. The quality most crucial to attaining success for yourself and your organization is the courage to begin!

Have the courage to risk. Without risks, no leader can become truly great.

The source of leadership is courage.

Accept personal responsibility for what happens to you and your organization. It’s only in Africa I have seen that things go wrong in an organization or nation and leaders will say I don’t know and the people will applaud him for not knowing. Leadership doesn’t give excuse but result.

You alone are responsible for what you can become!

You must accept personal responsibility for the actions you take. Are you willing to pay that price for personal growth?

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”

Three keys to constructive change

  1. Learn to deal constructively with any kind of change.
  2. Encourage the personal growth of team members.
  3. Learn to involve team members in the process.

Surviving crisis and change demands one thing of every leader – flexibility. Flexibility is the ability to bend without breaking. Effective leaders have learned to delegate low-cost items, routine activities and anything that can be done by someone else without personal attention and intervention on the part of the leader.

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