Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership
I will never understand why Nigerians create four lanes of cars all facing one direction on a two-lane road thus blocking all oncoming traffic yet expecting to go through quickly. We all end up stuck in a place and no one budges until some traffic warden shows up.
Assuming we are all sane people and can reflect on our experiences and learn from them, you would think that the people who form those extra “illegal” lanes would learn the lesson that blocking oncoming traffic does no good to anyone and decide to desist from such action. Yet I bet that right this minute on some road somewhere people are causing traffic jams by creating extra “illegal” lanes and blocking the free flow of traffic.
This is just one of many such behaviours that I see and I am reminded of the truth that indeed everything rises and falls on leadership. Until the leader, the traffic warden in this case, shows up and gives direction, then we all remain stuck in a rut.
You can apply this to any scenario and find that it still holds true. As a nation, we need more leaders in every sphere of influence who have a clear direction and can show us how to get there. From the family to our religious and political institutions we need effective leaders who can set and abide by standards of integrity and excellence. We need visionary leaders who can chart a course and follow it through to completion, and even go ahead to raise successors who can carry on their legacy for generations to come.
A powerful tool that leaders can use to create the change that we desperately seek is to lead by example. As a leader, people will do what you do and not what you say. While lofty plans and great agenda are wonderful, rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty to implement those plans and actualize those agenda is so much better.
I dream of the day when leadership in Nigeria will be continuous such that successive governments will continue the laudable projects of previous governments in a seamless flow that moves us closer to the goal; a time when we can roll out 20 year plans and see them happen because every successive government is so committed to the unifying cause and will do all to ensure its success irrespective of political, religious, or ethnic differences. This Nigeria is entirely possible if we realise that leadership is never about personal good but about simplicity, service to others, and sacrifice for the greater good.
Everything rises and falls on leadership, that is why a people will only go as far as the leader has capacity to envision. This truth we must personalize and live out in our different spheres of influence whether at home, in an office, or in the arena of public service.
What is even more worrisome is that children are growing up in the largely disorderly society we have created and may grow to think that disorderliness is a norm. This we must tackle squarely by each being an example to the children around us. Not by being at our best behaviour when children are about but by being at our best behaviour at all times so that the lifestyle of integrity, excellence, orderliness, and an overall good character becomes second nature and we can exhibit behaviours worthy of emulation by the young ones. Everything rises and falls on leadership so I’ll leave you with a question. Are you leading where you are?
Ukot Umezinne is the Chief Executive Officer of the Abuja Based Life Skills Experts and moderator of the Education Hub Africa group on Facebook.