We’ve all heard the cliché and rolled our eyes in disdain: “bla bla bla… the leaders of tomorrow”. Many times it comes from the lips of those who have lost grip of the gravity of those words. Maybe it’s easy for them to talk about it with levity because they see tomorrow as some unimaginable state that will come when pigs fly.
The truth is that no matter how trivialized it may have become, present and future leadership is a big deal. Nigeria’s president in the next ten to twenty years may be in right now be battling ECN 202, or waiting for a call-back from KPMG, or just reading this article! Whether you’re the leader of your church unit, medium-scale business, Facebook group, are preparing for the 2027 elections, or all of the above, you need to be aware of and take the following serious:
A Leader is a Servant: Remember the lines “…to serve Nigeria with all my strength”? They’re not just there because they sound nice. The crux of leadership is service. A leader must be prepared to commit herself to the affairs of others. He must exude humility and the readiness to bend over backwards if need be. This means extra time and extra work, but its worth it at the end of the day.
A Leader is a Thinker: Physical appearance, sartorial prowess and talent go a long way, but your critical and creative thinking ability is what truly sets you apart. A leader is expected to have insight, and a sharp ability to analyze and problem-solve. If you cannot think ahead and carry others along, then expect to be booed out of office. Fortunately you can sharpen your thinking skills by feeding your mind with the right material.
More Action, Less Words: “No results, no respect” is my motto. People will depend on their leader to help actualize their hopes and aspirations. A tardy leader loses his reputation in no time. Excellent work speaks for itself – it needs little explanation, if any. To add, in matters of values and principle, let your stance be communicated by example. In leadership, it’s better for your adherents to gladly “do as you do” rather than grudgingly “do as you say”.
Words Also Matter: Words are a vital part of communication, so let yours carry weight. Improve your verbal communication – your tone, pronunciation and vocabulary. Non-verbal aspects like your appearance, facial expression and gesticulation have also been mastered by the world’s greatest leaders. Take a cue from the best.
Attitude is Everything: As a leader, people will judge and react to you according to how they feel about you. Whether they will draw wells of inspiration from you or condemn your guidance depends on your attitude. Behavior, carriage and temperament precede a reputation; one which could take a very long time to get rid of.
Leadership guru, John Maxwell, says that “everything rises and falls on leadership”. The state of any organization is a reflection of the state of its leader – a fact that has well been proven. So Mr/Ms Future Leader, are you ready for tomorrow?