To be a leader, Get ready for the Rollercoaster.
Leadership is one of the integral aspect of all our lives. At some point in life, we are all leaders. I remember watching one pastor preaching about an action filled Christian life awhile back. Of course action witnessing be it as a Christian or not is one powerful way of influencing people.
And so this pastor preached so well articulating point after point about the whole goodness of living a good life full of lovely acts. Good and influencing acts of God for all and sundry. Then at one point the congregation wouldn’t keep with His pace and could miss to shout amen where due.
The pastor at this point reminded them that even if they didn’t say amen, he would say it to himself. If they didn’t listen to his sermons, he could preach to himself. And this is the point where I wanted to pick something crucial about leadership and all of us being leaders in our lives.
Being a leader doesn’t only mean being a corporate executive leading the largest organization in the region or even being the president of a country. In fact it doesn’t mean being the pastor of a church with a lot of believers or even being the chair of your merry go round team. Being a leader is more than being all that.
We should remember that we are all leaders of our own lives. You start by leading yourself, then leading your nuclear family before even you can proceed to curve the direction of your larger extended family. And even from that personal point of leading, one must brace for making the tough decisions.
And at those small points in your life, is the time your leadership character develops. Remember you start making the small right decisions about yourself before your friends can trust you to make the right decisions for the chama. When you get it right, other bigger roles get placed on your shoulders because in a way you have ‘proved’ yourself.
I love what Steve Jobs remarked about leadership. He said that leadership is not about pleasing everybody. Even the pastor who preaches about the good news about Jesus Christ at some point must rub shoulders with all people the ‘wrong’ way but which is the right thing. This good news must be preached at the same time reminding people that sexual defilement, prostitution, theft, murder, gossip and all manner of evils are bad whether one is a victim or not.
In those very congregations the pastors preach to, are all these types of people. And the right thing to do is state the truth and save a soul. The same is said about leadership be it in business, in school, in government or any other place. If it’s about pleasing everybody, I don’t know where one can go because even the sheep need a leader who can take them away from the fields where they are destroying crops of which to them there is no problem.
To be a leader, is about influence. And this influence is not always found on the basis of popular opinion. Those who think that we become leaders out of mass popularity so to say means they are not leaders even though some may be already ‘leaders.’
We get influence by taking the right step towards a goal. Let us take a business case for example where you are the CEO. In your executive role, you envision a need to broaden you visions because you see a very prospective investment and you are sure it will mean good for the business. The right thing to do is to stick to your guns.
Everybody may fight you and even your board chair may gang up against you but if it is the right decision stick to it. It’s akin to somebody approaching you so that you do a deal where you need to misappropriate some funds. The right thing to do is not to be partisan to such a deal. Such a deal is for those people who need not be called leaders.
Yet we will ask ourselves why others have to implement what they are told by their bosses even when that seems like the wrong thing to do. In fact we are all know many people who just do that. What’s wrong with that? I call such people lazy leaders because they fear the rollercoasters of leadership which is what defines leadership.
So if you want to be a leader, be ready to make unpopular decisions. Be ready for the hard decisions because that is all about leadership. Making decisions that influence the direction of organizations, governments, churches, schools, and companies as well as every aspect of life is the whole mantra of leadership.
Remember you will need to lead people who oppose you, people who are your enemies, other times people who are learned than you, in other cases people who are politically diverse than you are and you will need to sell them your vision and make them buy into it. It is not going to be easy I tell you and that is why I said that as a prospective great leader, brace yourself for the rollercoaster.