“Formal Education will give you a living; self-education will give you a fortune. Leadership is about learning”
Let us continue from where we stopped last edition on The Characteristics of a Value Based Leader. Don’t forget Leadership is evolution of value! It is value based, and it evolves. People will freely follow you because you have they value they need in you.
Other Characteristics of a value based leaders are listed below
Value Based Leaders have commitment. Commitment and passion are the driving forces of a leader. Leader’s commitment is undoubtedly great. As a leader one must realize that until you are committed nobody will be committed to you. Good leaders model commitment before they ask anyone else to do so.
John C Maxwell observed that leaders cannot followers to make commitment deeper than the ones they make. To develop commitment leaders must understand the following truths:
- Commitment starts in the heart. It precedes achievement. Where your heart is committed is where you use your productive time and energy. The hearts of our political leaders today are committed to their patrons and not the community. That is why money meant for development of the community is diverted to service patronage and clienteles.
- Commitment is tested by action. This is the only real measure of commitment. Talk is cheap! Action is expensive. We can see this in our political leaders today, they talk commitment at political campaigns and rallies when they beg for votes, but once they get the political power, they cannot do the talk.
- Commitment opens door for accomplishment. Once the leader commits himself to his vision ,all kinds of provisions and resources come his way to help him succeed and achieve
- Commitment can be measured. Leaders must evaluate their calendars and check books to measure their commitment.
- Commitment enables leader to make decisions. Leader must determine what is worth dying for, then make it the basis for decision
- Commitment flourishes with public accountability. Go public with your commitment, then you’ll have incentives to follow through
Value Based Leaders connect with people. Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Leaders pay into the emotional bank of their followers, and people will love to follow them. John C Maxwell observed that a leader cannot connect with people only when he is communicating to groups; he must connect with individuals. The stronger the relationship and connection between individuals, the more likely the follower will want to help the leader. Unfortunately, our leaders always believe that followers must take responsibility to connect with them. But successful always initiate. They take the first step and then make the effort to continue building relationship.
Connecting isn’t easy. It requires giving. This was what Rehoboam lacked. He became power-hungry, flexing political muscle more than he desired to connect with his people. He refused to learn the Law Connection, such that his grad father David had which connected the other part of Israel with the tribe of Judah. Any leader who wishes to connect with his people should first check his motives.
John Maxwell, modelling Rehoboam type of leadership advised leaders to do the following:
- Get beyond yourself. In the word of Dr Albert Schweitzer, “Whatever you have received more than the others – in health, in talents, in ability, in success… all this you must not take to yourself as a matter of course. In gratitude for good fortune, you must render some sacrifice of your own life for another life”. Selfishness and insecurity always lie at the heart of those who fail to get beyond themselves. John Maxwell says “To connect with people, remain others-minded and remember that leadership is a privilege”.
- Grow Beyond yourself. Mahatma Ghandi once remarked, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems”. Had Rehoboam gleaned from experience of the elders, he would have discovered how little he knew about leading. But this cocky and unteachable young man missed a great opportunity for growth – and so destroyed the nation. Any leader who wants to grow beyond himself should remain humble and teachable.
- Give Beyond Yourself. Individuals with low self-esteem almost always focus on themselves. Conversely, a study from the University of Michigan revealed that the people who regularly heathen their zest for living and increase their life expectancy. Rehoboam had no interest in what he could give; he aimed to get the maximum. Effective leaders must persistently ask themselves “What am I doing for others?” HE should be a river, not a reservoir.
- Go Beyond yourself. A Middle East proverb says “When were born, you cried and the world rejoiced, may you live your life so that when you die, the world will cry and you will rejoice”. Every great leader has the ability to connect. To be a better leader you must learn to connect with people. Do it and you will dramatically raise your level of leadership; do it well and many people will follow you anywhere.
Value Based Leaders have a positive mental attitude. When you think positively energy is released, but when you think negatively strength is reduced. Charles Gordon observed that one of the most keys to successful leadership is to be positive. A positive leader is bold. He exudes enthusiasm, he plans prayerfully, he overcomes obstacles, he seeks success, he ignore insults, he treasures today, he increases, imagination, and he visualizes victory.
The development of a positive attitude is the first conscious step toward becoming an effective leader. Successful leadership cannot be constructed without this crucial building block. John Maxwell listed the following attitude axioms by the words and action of Joshua and Caleb:
- Our attitude determines our approach to life
- Our attitude determines our relationships with people
- Our attitude is often the only difference between success and failure.
- Our attitude at the beginning of a task will affect its outcome more than anything else
- Our attitude can turn problems into blessings
- Our attitude can give us an uncommonly positive perspective
- Our attitude is not automatically good just because we belong to God.
Value Based Leaders are learners. Formal Education will give you a living; self education will give you a fortune. Leadership is about learning. Leaders face the danger of contentment with the status quo. After all, if a leader already possesses influence and has achieved a level of respect, why should he or she keep growing? But what you learn after you know is what matters. Therefore leader must keep learning because as a leader your growth determines who you are; who you are determines who you attract; and who you attract determines the success of your organization or institution. Leaders must be teachable, we must not presume we know it all or we know exactly how things will play out or what tomorrow will bring. Leaders must be learners. If you want to keep leading you need to keep learning. Yesterday growth cannot suffice for today. We must remain teachable and flexible. Arrogance keeps leaders away from learning. History presented King Nebuchadnezzar as one of the most arrogant leaders, so self centred and prideful that God dealt with him in a most unusual way and he became sober and developed teachable spirit through hardship and hard training. Samson’s greatest undoing was his lack of teachable spirit, but it was too late for him to realize how profitable humility and teachable spirit could be of help to leadership. How about you? Are you a teachable leader? Do you want to dictate the people or circumstances from whom you will learn, or will you learn from anyone? Consider the following steps to help your teachability.
- Don’t believe your own press. The greatest enemy of tomorrow’s success is today’s. Don’t get distracted by your achievements.
- Observe how to react to mistakes. Do you admit them when you make them? Do you apologize or get offensive? Get honest about your needs.
- Try something new. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Challenges change us for the better and keep us learning.
- Grow in the area of your strength. Read books on leadership and in your area of giftedness. Don’t be satisfied with where you are today. Keep stretching.
Let me reiterate, as leaders to remain teachable, always note that teachable attitude cures your destination disease. Lack of teachability is the rooted in achievement. If you stop growing, you stop leading. Teachable attitude overcomes success. Success often hinders teachability. Look not into the past trophies, but future goals. Remember, everything valuable has a price. The longest distance between two points is a shortcut. Trade in your pride; admit that you don’t’ know everything, even though you do know some things. And finally, never pay the price for the same mistake. This was the difference between Samson and David. Growth means you will make mistakes, but you must learn from each of them.
Continued Next Edition