The world today has tagged the term “Leadership” to be an authority that commands complete followership. A man who is given the privilege to lead a set of people replaces the privilege with power and abuses it. Leaders of today have demanded loyalty from their followers rather than earn it. Followers have now pledged their loyalty to royalty to a point where he’s (the leader) is seen as a deity. Leaders have made themselves the centre of attraction making their followers worshippers. Leaders now see authority as a self pleasing zone rather than a place to serve the people who have placed them there.
Now leaders are not just conventionally the government but each and everyone of us who one way or the other have been placed heads over people. In our offices, homes, schools, markets, churches, mosque or wherever we’ve found ourselves. How much have we really affected those people under us? How can we say we’ve served? How do you treat these people under your care? Does your royalty affect their loyalty or infect their loyalty towards you? These are questions we must ask ourselves as leaders. Now we’re gonna analyse who a leader is and what a true leader represents in actual sense. These are the six (6) things a true leader should do. This is the hallmark of a leader.
- A LEADER KNOWS AND UNDERSTANDS THE JOB
A man who knows nothing about the job cannot lead people who has little or sometimes no idea about the job. A leader should know what the job entails and must communicate this to his employees so they know what is expected of them to do at all times. A leader is supposed to be the most knowledgeable so he is able to monitor and manage the affairs of his employees and detect errors, flaws or frauds. This way, he can figure out the lags and provide the appropriate solutions to them. A leader who doesn’t know what he’s doing will only lead his people to a ditch. When he understands the job, then he can set the target for the job and make his followers see this target and aim to achieve that target for their leader. Understanding is as a result of knowledge. You can’t understand what you don’t know. People should see reasons why they should ride along with you. To do that, you must have knowledge.
- A LEADER IS A GOAL GETTER
After he must have had a full grasp of what the job entails. He should set targets and be able to draft out a plan for achieving those goals. These goals must be communicated to the employees so they have a sense of direction. A man who knows where he’s going doesn’t ask questions because he knows how to get there. For the work to go on smoothly, the followers must be guided by the goal of the job. It creates a sense of orderliness. He maps out the blueprint of the target and employ his employees to go all out to achieve it.
- A LEADER IS A SERVANT
A lot of people have changed the course of a leader from one who is to serve his subjects to one who is to be served by his subjects especially in government. As a leader I should be able to attend to my primary duty which is to defend the interest of my people to the best of my ability. But how many of us really do that today? It’s a far cry. Leaders have now turned their servants to slaves who they could “Boss around” like some puppet. Leaders now sit on the best cushion chairs, drive the best cars, live in the best homes, sleep on water beds and chill out with the most beautiful ladies. Their subjects however, are wrecks. These loyal people get peanuts as remuneration which is never commensurate with the level of service and loyalty they show towards their jobs. Sometimes these people still get jibes despite their loyalty. Question is, of what use are you if you cannot affect lives around you? I wear the best clothes yet my subjects wear rags. This mostly occurs in homes where the owner is wealthy and has a lot of servants in different units.
- LEADER-FOLLOWER RELATIONSHIP
A lot of leaders disregard this aspect of leadership. They see leadership as an authoritative position rather than a relative position. How well do you relate with those under you? What do you know about them? These are questions you should have answers to as a result of a relationship with them. Get to know not just on a professional level but on a personal note as well. Create that bond with your followers. Some of them just need to reassured that someone actually cares about them. That might just be the motivation they need to keep being loyal to you. Loyalty is not bought but earned. Make them a part of your life. This way, you get to know how your followers see you. Get to know their views and adjust to become a better a leader to your people. That worker of yours may just be going through a hard time in her home and all she just needs is for someone to reassure her that everything is gonna be okay. She wants to open up to someone but her “Boss” only cares about the job being done. Now she can’t perform at optimum level because she’s distracted. Perhaps if you would just stretch out a hand and hear her out, she might just open up to you and she’s fine and the work goes on smoothly. Don’t just be a boss. Be a boss who cares.
- APPRECIATION AND INSPIRATION
A leader should always appreciate his followers. Research has shown that employees are better motivated when appreciated especially in form of rewards. This is another aspect leaders fail to understand. They feel it’s not important after all he pays them salaries. Like I always say, appreciation is the key to multiplication. If I cannot appreciate what I have then I can’t have more of it. If I cannot appreciate people for what they do for me then I shouldn’t expect more from them. It’s pretty simple. How can I give extra to someone who doesn’t even appreciate my effort? Until leaders begin to see their followers working for them as a privilege rather than a right then they’d learn to appreciate their workers. A little “Thank you” goes a long way in the minds of the employee. It shows how much value you place on their efforts and their person. Appreciation is a function of value. How much worth you place on someone reflects how much you appreciate that person. This inspires the followers to carry on with the task.
- LISTENS AND ENCOURAGE IDEAS
A leader shouldn’t be rigid in his approach towards things. He should be flexible in his dealings. He should give room for new ideas from his employees. Ideas, they say, rule the world. Employees should be able to contribute positively in decision making and this can only happen when the leader and the employees function as a whole. Suggestions, contributions and objections should be allowed all to move the job forward. People want to be relevant. When a employee feels his ideas or opinions are regarded then he wants to do more to become even more relevant to his leader and to the course. This is tied to how much of a listener the leader is to his followers. A leader should be able to listen and hear the thoughts of his followers. It enhances relationship.
- A LEADER IS A DEFENDER – A leader shouldn’t be weak. A leader must always be ready to shield his followers. A leader is the head and so he defends the interest of the body because they are the only reason why he is a leader. A leader must be able to sacrifice to preserve the welfare of his followers. He blocks the behind the scenes forces from gaining entry into the job so the job runs smoothly and the goal is not jeopardised. A leader must be willing to take the hits for his people.
So those are the six (6) things expected from a true leader. If you happen to find yourself in any leadership position today, these are things you must do to foster not just progress in the job but complete loyalty from your employees.
L – Listens to his people.
E – Expresses knowledge about the job.
A – Appreciates his followers.
D – Defends the interest of his people.
E – Encourages ideas.
R – Relates with his followers.
This is the mark of a true leader. Don’t just be a boss. Be a L-E-A-D-E-R. This is Danny world…