Opinion: Between the compulsive critic & the great leader

by Lai Labode

While visionary leadership is not a promise of perfection, its inevitable shortcomings are judged with a malicious eye for the worst by the compulsive critics. Since the world is a great lover of great tales of success and failure, its ears are ever ready for all colours of lies, truth, rumours, misfortune or fiction.

Because leadership is the dumping ground of the dirt and failures of society, the great leader is blamed for even the childlessness or impotence of his compulsive critics and must take the fall even when the critics fail in their duties to selves, family or society.

When the great leader speaks with a measure of passion, the compulsive critic sees a man pretending to love his country; when he speaks in firm resolve, the compulsive critic only sees an insensitive leader whose more important interest is power and its attendant aura.

The compulsive critic is driven by a deadly judgmental instinct that feeds fat on the bloody meat of jealousy, learning, loathsomeness or outright mischief. He forgets that the foundation of greatness is never built on platters of cynicism but on the rocks of clear vision, learning, hard work, and profound optimism.

The compulsive critic knows when the great leader farts or sneezes, he is unconsciously obsessed with the great leader’s mien and purposefulness. He instinctively spreads the great leader’s message without knowing it. He is the town-crier of the great leader who never gets paid.

The compulsive critic is oblivious to the fact that no great deed is complete without toil, lesson or element of failure. He lives in a small world of self-deceit or alternate reality and shows himself to any truly discerning observer as either too critical,  little, bitter, jealous or outrightly envious.

The compulsive critic fails woefully to see that the leader’s imperfections are only a proof of human fallibility. Many a time, a great leader’s error or failure is his springboard to greater exploits and kind history. The great leader’s resilience is the unmistakable evidence of the depth of his convictions. It is his convictions that sustain him through challenging times, while his passion will forever feed his drive, it is his belief that maintains his resilience.

Time and time again in human history, great leaders are assailed by compulsive critics. The compulsive critic is an integral part of the world of the great leader. In fact, the great leader is less than the full measure of his prowess in the verdict of history when the compulsive critic is absent.

Only a fool assails a piece of art, music or invention that commands little or no value. The intensity of the compulsive critic’s vituperations many a time is a further proof of the great leader’s power to influence. The compulsive critic lives with a measure of insanity because he processes every good, bad and ugly information with the same blistering negative emotion.

While the compulsive critic may sometimes appear personable, he is more likely insecure, hence his over sensitive reactions when attention is called to the delusions of his characteristic negativity and single view of the world viewable from a zillion doors and windows.

If a compulsive critic is blessed with a measure of wealth or a flash of some sort of gift, the depth of the wealth or gift is recklessly exaggerated by his disposition, he simply loses the wisdom of tolerance for the points of view of others.

The compulsive critic’s approach to opposing views is condescending and proud, little does he know that humility is a higher form of pride acceptable by both the foolish and the wise. He fails to recognise that communication is easily lost in pride and condescension.

Many a time, the compulsive critic is the easiest pawn in the slippery arena of political power. It takes little to start him and guide him to a pre-determined end because he fails to see the superiority of self-control over rash bravery or unmitigated bravado.

Every great leader births compulsive critics,  If you never birthed one, you have not started to lead.


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Lai is an Egba man, a 21st-century philosopher, a master of the art of self-reinvention, a consummate business and political strategist, a fighter, a butterfly, a serial innovator and an incurable optimist blessed with rare clarity of vision and imagination. Lai is happily married to the love of his life, Ijeoma and blessed with three great children- Salt, Einstein & Rhodium. Lai is a future President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at least so he conclusively believes.

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