LEADERSHIP ISN'T ABOUT YOU
ME: WHY DO YOU WANT TO JOIN THE LDI? SOME PEOPLE: Because I want to be a leader. I want to learn how to lead, people, I want to learn how to control people so they can follow me. I want to become a governor or go into politics. These are some of the many answers I get whenever I ask this question. They all seem good answers, But most times they hide the wrong reasons in them. People want to be in position of power and authority and confuse that for leadership. Leadership has been confused with occupying a position and having some kind of authority. That is the traditional meaning of leadership. Some of the students who join the Leadership development institute come with this notion of leadership as having authority. Not knowing that leadership is about inspiring and motivating others. Leadership is helping groups accomplish group goals. this is one definition we use in the leadership development institute. Meaning leadership isnt about the leader, but about the group. People shouldn’t notice you as a leader because its never about you. You dont put yourself in the spotlight to get praise from people but you work with the group as an independent unit to achieve the group goals. Most people confuse roles of managers with that of leaders. Managers direct, want to be in control, micromanage, want to take the glory for success and blame people for failures. Leaders inspire others , motivate, encourage, acknowledge the group for the success and growth and dont blame others. With my two years in the LDI, I've seen and worked with people whom I can call leaders. Some of the students, put into practice what we teach and with their service projects, demonstrate what leadership really is. This year in the LDI, we had students work with associations developing sustainable projects around the Sustainable Development Goals of The United Nations. Working together as a team, making time to meet out of their busy schedules, co- creating the projects with other team members and working with the associations to deliver their projects, were several ways they demonstrated leadership. To be a good leader, take the focus away from yourself and focus on the need and development of others. When you do it for the wrong reasons, that is, when you try to make it about you, people will notice and not want to be part of what you do. There's a popular saying that goes thus ” if you dont believe the messenger you wont believe his message”. You might start out great but along the way people will start to leave and not want to be part of your mission or they loose motivation because youre now more interested in your personal gains. Every great leader we know (from Nelson Mandela, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln,Martin Luther King, etc) was interested in the well-being of his people, or in the goals of the group he was leading. It was never about themselves, but about the collective goals of the group. Even in organizations, a manager might not be a leader, and you find people who are under the managers who are great leaders. This is because leadership isnt about the individual but about the people whom the individual works with. You find certain departments doing well, because all members of the group work together, they are inspired towards a common goal. Leadership is not about what you get but what you give. Do you give your team members direction and support to help them develop their competence and commitment? Leadership is about creating an enabling environment that lets people create value. Leadership is not position and authority, With all these said, leadership isnt about you. Wherever you find yourself, youve been called to serve others. In the organization or company you work, the office you hold, the team you function with, and your home. You are called to serve as a leader. Using my definition of Leadership, you know leadership is about the gorup. So In your organization, as a leader, you must learn to put the organizations need first. work together with others to achieve the goals. In your elected office, the need of those who elected you must come first. With your team, you must work collectively to achieve the goals of your teams. As a parent, or child in your home, you must play your part in the family to ensure the house functions properly. That's what leadership is.