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Dec 18


We have missed our dedicated readers and we are so excited to connect again. We are back to complement and enrich your information and learning interests.

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Toyin Wura Oke


Our Concept of Leadership I

Looking at the linguistic origin, the term leadership has its roots in ‘lead’ which could mean:

-       To go forth, die

-       To be out there in front

-     To set the pace, to maintain social order

Photo: tomtunguz

Photo: tomtunguz

Individuals or groups who go forth, die; be out there in front; set the pace or maintain social order are driven by passion –  passion for that which they cherish. It then goes to say, that having passion for what we are engaged in is a strong underlying current for progress and development of any kind. No longer should we wait for messiahs and super humans to take over the reigns of our governments. We are our own messiahs. In the space where you find yourself, what manner of passion have you?

Beyond the passion, leadership should never be devoid of strong morals and beliefs, therefore it must be value laden. No longer must we continue to exhibit moral laxities, corrupt tendencies and indiscipline in the tasks assigned to us no matter how little or insignificant they are.

A Prescriptive Concept of Leadership

- A definition and understanding of leadership must take into cognizance our cultural assumptions about leadership.

- It must be practical

- It should aim at social useful activities

- It must offer a broad definition of social usefulness

Leadership must mobilize: motivating, organizing, orienting, and focusing attention. It is not a position or a set of personal characteristics as it is often misconstrued. It is an activity.

Two Definitions to Compare

-       Leadership means influencing the community to follow the leader’s vision

-       Leadership means influencing the community to face its problems and resolve them.

In the first definition, the leader gets people to accept his vision. In this context, if anything goes wrong, it is the fault of the leader.

In the second definition however, progress on the problem is the measure of leadership. The people are mobilized by the leader to face problems. In this context, if anything goes wrong, it is the fault of the leader and the community.

It has been earlier stated that leadership is an activity – such a description allows for leadership from multiple positions in a social structure. In this situation both the president and the clerk can lead. All that is needed is are a variety of abilities, because personal abilities are the resources through which leadership can be applied differently. A citizen from any station can mobilize people to generate a socially useful outcome. Here the socially useful outcome must be something that meets the needs of both the leader and the led.

Leadership Truths

- Leaders are interdependent with followers

- Leaders always accelerate change

Leaders have a rock solid value system that is congruent with their followers

Thanks to globalization, we are in a new paradigm of society that requires new ways of thinking and acting. We therefore need new perspectives to the concept of leadership as individuals and as a nation.

Henry A. Agbonika is a freelance journalist and an alumnus of the Africa Leadership Forum, Ota. 

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