The Supreme Price all Nigerians must pay…
I want to talk to Nigerians all over the world about self-leadership. I’d shared earlier about the parable of the basket of raw eggs. The parable is such that if you have a basket of raw eggs and every four years, you randomly select four eggs out of the full basket to represent all the eggs in the basket. Each time we break the four eggs to experience them, they all turn out to be rotten eggs. We return to the basket again and pick another four randomly; broke them and each of them were rotten eggs again.
Now, after over 50years of doing this picking of eggs randomly to represent all the other eggs in the basket, and each one randomly picked turned out to be a rotten egg, and if it is true that a part of insanity is to keep doing things the same way and expect a different result, will it not be wise to take a second look at the entire basket all over again, and use the blessing of logic to explore the possibility that 50years of randomly picking rotten eggs from a basket of full raw eggs may just mean the basket is filled with rotten eggs?
I see Nigeria this way. And every problem we see at the national level exists first of all in the individual lives of so many, evident in corporate offices everywhere, schools and institutions everywhere; there’s actually little Nigeria in almost every Nigerian; and the idea is that most of our leadership problem we have is first of all a failure at self-leadership than anything else. What goes on in public offices goes on in our universities between students and lecturers, at home between parents and children, and amongst siblings of the same blood; it goes on in offices and all over corporate Nigeria. Somehow, the majorityhave within them a way of defining their own justice, when in actual fact, most of us are just award-winning actors and actresses who have mastered the worst of ourselves by sustaining the kind of denial that empowers each of us to look outside of ourselves for the solutions we know reside clearly within us.
I know a lot of bad leaders in public offices all across the nation, but honestly, i have not a lesser number of bad leaders in homes and offices all across the nation. Self-leadership is critically missing; and each of us is busy passing the buck, ignoring the poverty of our own choice of attitude and behaviours, and instead focusing on the actions of the person who sits in public view.
The one word for leadership anywhere is influence. And if you are able to influence the thinking, decision, attitude or behaviour of any one, you have led that person at that moment, whether the person is your dad or boss. People forget that to lead well, you need to be able to lead in all directions—north, south, east and west.The people of Nigeria must get ready to embrace the ability to lead themselves through self-leadership and to use that self-empowerment to begin to open themselves to the knowledge of how we can lead our leaders and those peers and associates equal to us in status. It’s not determination. It’s a skill and the majority lacks the knowledge of it, as well as the character to sustain it. You can’t just focus on those entrusted to your care below you. Most fools can do that.
To lead people below you is easily supported by the office of seniority you occupy; it does not necessarily mean you can get them to do the needful simply by inspiring them to want to do it. But where there will be no consequences if they don’t do what you want, the final test of leadership at that level will not be measured by your ability to lead those below you. No! It will be measured by your ability to genuinely inspire and influence in a way you must not assume that you understand. I call it your ability to lead North, East and West. To lead South is cheap. Leading north is influencing those over you to do the needful. Leading east and west is influencing in peer group settings. A leader must lead down, but that’s cheap. He must lead up, and laterally; that’s power.
However, perhaps the most overlooked leadership challenge is the one in the middle. The one we call self-leadership. Who is your toughest leadership challenge? It is you! And who is your nation’s toughest leadership challenge? Trust me, and you may argue, but the nation’s toughest leadership challenge is Nigerians. Although self-leadership isn’t talked about much, make no mistake, it is the most critical. How effectively can any of us lead others if our spirits are sagging, our courage is wavering, and our vision or commitment is weak? I’ve studied enough to know that each of us should invest 50 percent of our leadership amperage into the task of leading ourselves; and the remaining 50 percent should be divided into leading down, leading up, and leading laterally. This is the difference in leaders and consequently in nations. It is the reason why some leaders develop to their fullest potential and why most hit a plateau far from their full potential. I struggle with this and i pray this doesn’t become my case. Whatever happens, i will keep working with the idea that my self-leadership is the pathway to my ultimate placement in life, and the only hope that i can help others and contribute my quota to this great nation. This is the hope of all great men in history. It must remain the hope of the men and women of 2014, so that it can remain the legacy of the adults of 2063. It is a duty. It is about tenaciously staying strong despite overwhelming opposition or discouragement. Superior self-leadership is the supreme price all Nigerians must pay if the lot of our national integrity must be characterized by peace and stability. I await your comments here. STAY SHARP!