Effective Leadership M. U. Adikwu, FCILG, FAS, FPSN, FSTAN, FSAN, Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Let us start by looking at leadership. Leadership is meant to give direction to any group. It could be a small group as a family, a village, a clan or an organization, big or small. This direction must be a guided one. In other words, it is meant to be good guide to a good direction. Sometimes, there is poor guidance and then people can then say there is bad leadership. What most people clamour for is good leadership, which is often lacking.
Leadership in a family
The family is the unit of any society, be it a village, town, local government, state or country. What happens in a family is critical to good leadership as failure here will automatically transform to the failure of the persons involved in this unit of society. Thus, the leadership of the father in the family is very critical. The father must give direction to the entire members of the family. These days, leadership of the father in the family is usually limited because of white collar jobs where the father leaves home and comes back at night. Most of the children produced under this situation are usually in trouble. This is more so when both parents are working and return late. In this type of system, the only remedy may come from the teachers because most of the children leave home almost as neonates! Children are taken to day care centres and when they return home, they only see nannies. Do you need to ask why our society is upside down? Do you see that girls can go naked nowadays and they are not ashamed? It is because of improper guidance by their parents.
In one of the years, some white men visited my University and they wanted to collect plant samples. My Professor of Pharmacognosy asked me to take them to the forest in my village. When we arrived at the village, the white men saw women with children tied to their backs. They exclaimed: “This is where we got it all wrong! How will these children ever forget their parents?” To me I was shocked to hear that. I thought they would even say that was barbaric. These days, children are driven in trolleys! How can such children know the warmth of their mothers?
If a husband cannot even give a good direction to the wife, that is even worse. There are husbands who may tell their wives, we will go to town A for holidays. When the time comes, they change their minds to town B and that is how they dribble their wives year after year. Such husbands will not only cause confusion to their wives but disorganize their entire family system.
As far as I am concerned, leadership in an organization depends on the character of the person in charge. Where the person has not been properly brought up, his leadership will neither be here nor there. Self-discipline is key! A person’s life will affect the way he leads. To me I do not believe that leadership should be taught. Even when taught some of the skills are easier to imbibe when the person can control himself in all forms.
The leadership of a nation again stems from what the person learnt at home through his parents. The highest problem of every national leader is self-discipline. Do you know that as a polygamist, you cannot become American president? In fact, any one that cannot control his genitals cannot win American president. At the elimination stage when real political campaign has not even started, most people accused of sexual misdemeanor will quietly withdraw. In fact, in one of the years, the Democrat that was tipped to win was seen with a girlfriend when his wife was sick, and when he was accused he simply withdrew. Do you need to ask why there are leadership or governance failures in African countries? “Take heed to yourself!” is all I can say to everyone who wants to be a good leader.
I started this write-up with the issue of the family because every leader must see all people as his or her children. Are you heading an organization? See all the people there as your children. Are you heading a country? See all the people in that nation as your children. Many fail because they think along party lines; others think along tribal lines; others think along religious lines. As far as you are thinking like that, you can never succeed as a good leader. You will only be a bunch of confusion. Do not tell me that some people are bad. That is not the issue. As a father, do you reject your bad children? Every person has a good side. The percentage may differ, even a mad person has some level of a good side.
Leadership is Positional
Many people depend on people for leadership. It does not work. If a graph or organogram is drawn, the leader is at the apex. As such all decisions must be taken by him. If his life is clean, his decisions will be right. The failure of every leader depends largely on what is called division of labour or delegation of power. If there is a difficult situation, the leader must go and first of all resolve the difficulty before delegating power. The Creator God, always gives leadership authority which may not be available to subordinates. Thus when subordinates take over very quickly, trouble is likely to ensue.
Space will not allow me to expiate on all this. All I am trying to point out is leadership comes out of life and not even what one knows. If one’s life is correct, leadership is easy and fluent.