By Daniel Otabor
I will like to warn you that this might be destructive to your former knowledge of what leadership is about. But if you stay with me long enough, you will get a reconstruction for free (with insurance backing).
When I ask what leadership is, I am very sure some of us will be fast to think of someone we admire and someone we see as a leader and try to draw a definition from their lifestyle. It could be your boss in the office (especially when your boss is one great being), it could be your mentor, your role model, your pastor or imam, it could be your teacher and truth be told it could just be your parents. Well that’s a good way, it just shows that indeed they are leaders especially when you’re willing to define leadership by their lifestyle. But what’s even better is to realize that leadership is not far from YOU at all. It’s as close to you as where you are standing right now or sitting right now reading this. Confused? Please you shouldn’t be… all that meant was that YOU are a leader. Simple.
Over the years I have studied leadership, I have given my time to really study great leaders, leaders who stood for something, leaders who charted a course, leaders who shaped the world and leaders who even after their death, are still living, living in the hearts of generations after them. And in my invariable conclusion, these great leaders didn’t come out with two bodies and one head and had to visit the John Hopkins Hospital and have Ben Carson do what he does best. No! These leaders were as ordinary as they come. But over time they added a little extra to their ordinary and boom! They did what seemed impossible at the time, like starting a multi-billion dollar company in a garage, to winning a war even when the odds didn’t look good. From getting a university degree when blind and deaf, to publishing a book that sold over 400 million copies and have won multiple awards after several doors were slammed on her face. Long story short, I was talking about Steve Jobs, Theodore Roosevelt, Hellen Keller and JK Rowling (you should read about them).
I see leadership as the ability to see possibilities when others see impossibilities especially when it has to do with how far you can go in life as a person or as an organization. I see leadership as the force that keeps you whole even when everything around you seem broken. So even when it seemed impossible for Nigeria to gain her independence, they were men who saw the possibility and these men weren’t up to 10% of the Nigerian people but still they saw the possibility of been free and what they saw materialized as they fought tirelessly until they gained independence for their Nation. Then there was a man who after 27years in prison still remained whole as it concerns a course he believed in (the freedom of South Africans). Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello and Nelson Mandela were leaders worthy of emulation, leaders who did the impossible and remained whole to their purpose.
I can go on and on telling you about great leaders and their achievements and you will be excited about the new information you have learnt about great leaders but I won’t have fulfilled my aim for writing this. It’s simple. My aim is to make you understand that in every man is the potential to lead effectively, in every man is a map that leads to a fulfilled purpose. But only a few reach out to their true self. Only a few discover the map and follow through till they get to their destination. But today, I’ll be adding you to that few as I’m sure by now you’re coming to the realization that you can lead and you can lead effectively.
This is how it works, I have written this before in other articles and in my book “You Too Can Lead”, when you discover purpose, learn, learn and learn all it takes to fulfill it. Take every action possible to enable you get the desired results in actualizing your life’s purpose.
Set big audacious goals and give set target to help you accomplish the goals. Now, when goals and goal-setting are taught, the response is always like ‘well yeah we’ve heard it all’. But guess what we’ve heard it all but sometimes, we do nothing at all.
Without goals and targets to help guide your goals, you are not going to achieve the success you so deserve. It’s even worse because you lose your influence over people because people follow those with results and leadership is about achieving results and gaining influence in your field as you do. Leadership is about leading yourself so well, that people are willing to follow you not because you have CEO on your complimentary card. It’s about being able to respond to situations not react to them. Leadership is taking responsibility for yourself and those around you.
It’s of utmost importance that you see beyond your sight, it’s important that you believe in your gut. Because a man of vision is a man that sets the pace for others to follow and isn’t that leadership? Take a few seconds now and think about how you want to be remembered, think about what you can do but you aren’t doing it because you believe you are not in the category of people that can do it. When you are done thinking, kindly GO DO THOSE THINGS YOU THOUGHT OF and live a life that will be worth remembering. A life you will be proud of, a life your spouse, your children and your organization will be proud of.
Leadership as I see it is everyone’s birth right. Hopefully you don’t sell yours for brand new iPhone 6s. You deserve to live life and you deserve to lead the life you are living.
Josh’s Note: Today’s is Daniel’s birthday. Wish him a happy birthday on Twitter @DanielOtabor.