In every person, there is potential for leadership.
Despite this latent ability lying below the surface, there are very few individuals who realize this power and fewer still who have responded effectively to the call. As a result, our nations, societies and communities are suffering from an astounding leadership vacuum.
The essence of leadership is the exercise of influence for a common cause. Becoming a leader is not easy, just as becoming a doctor or poet is not easy and anyone who claims otherwise is fooling himself. However, learning to lead is a lot easier than most of us think it is because each of us possesses the capacity for leaderships. In fact, every one of us can point to some leadership experience, whether it was in a classroom, a group, as a parent or a responsibility for household chores.
What is leadership?
According to Myles Munroe of blessed memory, leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration, motivated by passion, generated by vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by a purpose. The traits found in his definition of leadership as we highlight them from the last to the first trait will help you maximize your leadership. What are these traits?
- First, you must discover your purpose. Purpose is why you were born and why you were created. When the purpose of a thing isn’t known, abuse is inevitable therefore life is under-lived and buried in all shades of frustration when the purpose of our existence isn’t known. Purpose is to be discovered and not to be created. Every man is a natural leader in his area of discovered purpose. Once purpose is discovered a leader is born and that is to say that once a man discovers his reason for existence, he has discovered that area in which he is to be an inspiration and an influence to others. How do we discover purpose which is the bedrock of our leadership? We look up, we look in, we look out. We look to God for a discovery of why we were created because we did not create ourselves therefore we cannot tell ourselves why we were created. We look inwards and look outside our environments to connect with platforms on which we can fulfill purpose based on what we are passionate about and what we have inherent abilities to do.
- Secondly, you ought to be convinced about your purpose. Once you discover your purpose, you must be convinced about it. It is one thing to discover your purpose and another thing to be convinced about it. Conviction is what determines whether or not you will take the first step towards actualizing your purpose. Such convictions do not come from any other but your creator. Stay with him, talk with him and be convinced that what you perceive to do is actually what He wants you to do. Also, do not neglect the counsel of mentors and elders. There are people God brings around us as colleagues or superiors who have a way of seeing issues from angles you naturally wouldn’t see them and thereby offer you the best of unbiased counsel, find such people and keep them. Most importantly, your conviction must be drawn from a deep seated knowing that this is what you ought to be doing, let every other external counsel be a confirmation to what you already know and then you can throw yourself into purpose.
- Next you must have vision. Once you are convinced about your purpose, you will produce a vision; you will begin to see a preferred future. It’s natural that vision follows purpose discovered. Vision refers to those mental pictures about what could be that isn’t yet. They are mental images about things you could and ought to do that will touch lives positively and bring you fulfilment as touching purpose fulfilment. A man of vision though in the body exists in the present but in his mind, he is years ahead of his present time and day. Their vision of what could be to a great extent affects how they live in the present because they understand the impact of today on tomorrow. Nobody who wants to make the most out of his leadership ever downplays the place of vision and no one who has ever downplayed vision ever maximized his leadership. There is no leadership success and impact without vision and there is no vision without purpose.Vision can be contacted or stirred up by committing to studying the lives and biographies of men and women who have done what you intend to do. While you may or may not completely model your strategies and ideas after theirs, reading about their possibilities, challenges and results can juggle your mind on what to do and how to go about it as it applies to your own age and time.
- You must have passion. Once you discover and are convinced of your purpose. You must become passionate about your vision. Passion is an internal alarm that wakes you up when you should be awake. Passion leads you to throw yourself into what you should do in other to see what you desire to see. Where there is no passion, there is no progress, no drive, no motivation and consequently, no results. It’s easier to be passionate about what you are internally wired to do than what you are struggling to take on that you have no internal wiring for. Passion is contagious; therefore if you want your followers to be passionate about what you give them to do, then you must live it as much as you teach them too.
- Inspire others. Once you are able to motivate and inspire people, you will be able to influence them which is when they call you a leader. When purpose is discovered and convinced about, when vision and passion take their rightful place then you are strategically positioned to be an inspiration to others thereby being a huge source of influence to them. At this point, you must have launched out in doing something or being a part of something tilted towards making desired impact and bringing the much anticipated purpose satisfaction and fulfilment to your soul.
- From time to time, revaluate these concepts to ensure that you are still on course. Never ever take a break from personal development because the more you know, the better equipped you are to inspire and influence others. Read books, listen to tapes, attend conferences and seminars, be a part of a team where you sharpen as well as get sharpened and last but not the least, don’t just be a receiver, be a channel through which others around you benefit from your wealth of knowledge and experience.
With all these, I believe that you will undoubtedly maximize and keep an upward match in your leadership journey.
KC EZE is the president and pioneer of The Shift Africa Youths Initiative, an NGO that teaches and empowers young people on leadership and personal development. He is a collaborative leader with strong communication and interpersonal skills built over his 11years experience in managing campus and youth ministry. He is also a co-pioneer of Champions Youth Foundation International which has been serving spiritual, leadership and life skills to young people in secondary and tertiary institutions since 2010. He is a dynamic TV host with ACNN (Anglican Cable Network of Nigeria) and a husband.