Why Proper Leadership is this Century’s Greatest Need.
A few years ago, the former late President Kibaki stood up to speak. His first statement was a kind of reprimand to the preceding speakers who had repeated themselves so much until the president felt ‘angered’ that they thought he hadn’t heard whatever they were putting across.
This came to my mind after observing that some meetings take too long not because the matters under discussion are so important, nay, but because there is a lack of leadership to offer the right guidance. People repeat themselves over and over until before you know it, an entire day is over.
Leadership is a very wide discipline. It cuts across the different facets of life for both people as well as the animal kingdom. Without leadership, so many things would be out of order. Truth be told however bitter that some people were born to be led in as much as leadership is a skill that can be learned by anybody.
Let me go off-script a little bit. Kenya just came out of an election period. Besides the petitions filed, several political positions have been already filled including those of governors. In my observation, some of the governors will have a hard time handling the leadership cum administrative roles they have been entrusted with, simply because of how they began their first day of governance.
Leadership, vision, and communication
One of the most vital responsibilities of a leader is to communicate the vision of an organization. Then, the leader should demonstrate, through their daily activities, how they intend to ensure the organization honors that vision by attaining it.
Within the communication is embedded the objectives of answering the biggest question of why that vision and why it is important to achieve it. Back to the meeting scenario. Most leaders fail to take charge of meetings because they don’t have clear objectives in the first place and thus, allow people to go out of the confines of the goals that need to be attained at the end of the meeting. The same is true with not keeping true to the vision.
We need people today more than ever who have a clear understanding of organizational needs and can make other people have the same understanding of those needs at their levels without force or dictatorship. That is why I am talking about leadership and not bossing.
Integrity, ethics, and motivation
To be honest, leadership has lost some charm with the dilution made possible by the social morass served on the leadership platter by the fact that people of questionable integrity occupy positions of leadership. Often, the blame is never on these questionable characters but on the ones who put them in those leadership positions in the first place.
Social ethics has lost its value today. And that could begin with the way we parent our children maybe. It has gotten to the point where the neck has grown stiff and the so-called generation of tomorrow’s cream finds it very honorable to glorify mediocrity and folly.
Leaders are supposed to motivate those they lead into putting in their best effort to the tasks at hand. The monetary value becomes one of the awards for the achievements. The problem is that we usually have poor leadership chains that make money the only upfront thing for motivation.
It turns out that this corrupt system has become the Modulus Operandi of doing things everywhere today. And such corruption has become the greatest thing that is taking some of our entire economies down to their knees. Corrupt leadership across the various areas of the divide is to blame by all means. Both the leadership, to mean the act, and the leaders are corrupt which simply means that there is a shortage of proper leadership in so many areas of our lives.
Decision-making, growth, and focus
Leadership demands a lot of decision-making. One fact we need to know is that allowing others to speak first helps the leader to get the general mood of the meeting for example and thus the ability to devise the best decision that means well for everyone. Always understand that the leader does not know everything.
As a leader, one will be expected to make a lot of decisions in the course of their tenure. It is these decisions that will determine if the leadership, in general, is making progress toward positive growth or not. A leader often needs to be five steps ahead of the rest although this doesn’t mean not listening to them.
It is the leadership that ensures that the people in the organization remain on course and don’t lose focus. In the initial example of a meeting I was using, if the leader doesn’t keep the discussion focused on the theme and objectives of that seating, a lot of time gets wasted with people who go off course with non-value-adding discussions.
In as much as a lot of people insist that everything is important, the leader knows that yes everything is important but other things are misplaced and out of context for the moment and should be kept at bay until their right time. Being able to keep the organization or meeting on course saves the organization a lot of time in creating value for the customer.
Leadership is important also in ensuring morale is boosted and cultivated throughout the organization, creativity is encouraged, and people are fired up and confident in their undertaking. The sum of all these actions is what differentiates success from failure.
Someone should never lie to you that leadership has no play with failure at the departmental level. It is the leadership that needs to be blamed by all means. Leadership takes many shapes starting from the CEO down to the machine operator’s team leader.
So, today the world needs more leaders than bosses. Our countries are in dire need of proper leaders right from the political side to the very bottom of the chain and in our diverse organizations both in the public and private sectors.
If anything my reader, strive to be the best leader in a world that is short of this very important class of people. The good thing is that leadership can be learned. The ball now rests with you.