The world today needs more leaders than preachers.

Otieno Paul-Peter

1:To be a leader means someone or some people are following you. The number of people who can WILLINGLY follow you determines your level of leadership. This is very critical irrespective of your career, background or mission. You want more and more people to believe in you and follow you with genuineness. The number one reason is TRUST! No one shall willingly follow someone whom he doesn't trust, at least for a considerable period of time. Never! If such a thing would occur, it is not leadership but merely some sort of game that is not going survive the test of time. Leadership is first and foremost based on trust! By losing trust, you lose your people and thus reduce your level of influence and your own people start hating you. This may mean your down fall because trust is such a thing that once lost is hardly recovered! It's like searching for a needle in a wheat plantation; can take very many years.

What makes people lose trust on their leaders? You know the answer as much as I do. One is (perceived) lack of truth. A leader who (is suspected to) speak(s) no truth is never trusted. An example is the current National Youth Service (NYS) scandal among some Kenyan political leaders. It does not take a genius to figure out that most of the people being mentioned and recording statements do not speak the truth because none of the statements agree with the other. Each affidavit comes with different names, different narratives, different episodes.

2:As a leader, how do you react to issues? How do you respond (if at all you do) whenever something ugly happens? Take, for example, a misfortune like a terror attack among your people or your opponents hit out at you in public or someone bears falls witness against you, et cetera. As a leader, you are bound to be criticized and, at times, abused. You are bound to be subjected to EMOTIONAL tests. It is such like instances that will reveal the true you. EMOTIONAL STRENGTH is, therefore, an essential attribute for any leader worth notice. This is the ability to stay calm, composed and still make right judgments even in the face of a crisis.

If a leader is not emotionally stable, he/she will be reactive most of the times and display scenes in public that injure his/her reputation. Again, a leader of such sort will, in many cases, make irrational decisions that are primarily based on ill emotions like anger, last, etc and thus ruin his very career and reputation. Ideally, this is the reason people are not supposed to make important decisions when they are under any toxic influence; the same reason leaders are often advised to limit drunkenness.

Some examples leaders who had this weakness include the biblical Moses. This caused him to undergo certain pains including being barred from entering the promised land; he would often lose his temper and misbehave. He even broke the first set of tablets upon which GOD wrote the commandments. Former US president G.W.Bush, Jr. lost his emotional stability during the Twin Tower attack and we all know the price the US had to pay for it. It did not do any good to his legacy either. This is the same thing we see daily when leaders start fighting in public and let go their cool.

The moment you decide to grow as a leader, remember that much of the growth should be in your inside; developing your emotional intelligence. Part of the strategies include having personal values that guide your behavior and mission; deciding before hand what to do when such incidents occur. The choosing to build a strong character that would make you become whom you should be. This is possible through the same old  pair; study and practice.

3:Here is the last one I may want to mention in this brief article; GREED! This shows that a leader is led not by the good of his/her subjects but by the need to satisfy his/her own selfish desires. Such leaders are often shameless, ruthless and manipulative. They are often involved in all kinds of corrupt deals. It is leadership with neither vision nor conviction but with a lot of emptiness even in the heart. Sadly, most of the political leaders in 3rd world and developing economies are of this type. What drives them, as opposed to most of the founding fathers who fought for independence, is to find an opportunity to grab more and seek protection for their acquired wealth because in such nations, again, the ruling class is untouchable. In fact, most of the times whenever you hear one making the loudest noise in the name of whistle-blowing, all it normally means is that he/she was left out in the distribution of the spoil and not because of genuine concern.

Greed has caused massive losses, countless deaths and this is likely to continue if the system remains uninterrupted. The best leaders are selfless, vision oriented and have compelling conviction. Take the late Prof.Wangari Maathai's fight for the forestry, for example; an excellent demonstration of true conviction.

In conclusion, in order to build a lasting legacy as a leader and for your spirit to remain immortal in the lives of your people, it is important to be the best custodian of the trust of your people, steer away from shameless greed by remaining selfless and then stay focused to your vision whose end result should be improved lives of your people. You do not need to be loved by everybody. You only need to be true to your mission and vision. What would you like to be remembered for?


Authored by

Otieno Paul-Peter, Esq.
Professional Public Speaker, Soft/Life Skills Trainer, Business Consultant
Live Your Dream Enterprises Ltd
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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