4 sins a leader must not commit


A leader-appointed or elected- is supposed to be a change agent.  His position as the helmsman gives him the power to advance the organization or state and make it better than he met it. Whether elected or appointed or a leadership vacuum had exited that suddenly threw him up as leader is immaterial and does not exonerate him from fulfilling the expectations of those now looking up to him for direction. However, in our society the situation is different. Political leaders emerge without the faintest inkling of what leadership is all about. Most of them had never led at any level before and suddenly they become Governors, Commissioners, General Managers of government agencies, etc. what happens is that the career civil servants now begin to teach them what their duties entail or alternatively, their friends advise them on what to do. The main thing they teach them is how to fraudulently enrich themselves. At the end of the day, these so-called leaders, having realized their inability to perform as expected resort to diversionary actions which I refer to as sins of leadership. They betrayals of leadership are as follows:

       Firstly, a leader must not complain about the job, its difficulty, people or situations. Before assuming office, a leader must have considered herself qualified for the job. Every job has minimum qualifications attached to it. It would be unacceptable for a leader to occupy a position of which he is not qualified. It is equally wrong to view political offices as merely administrative. This negates the need for character and capability which combine to give a leader credibility. In a situation a person was suddenly thrust in to a leadership position as a result of need for succession, such person, being self-aware, needs to commence bridging the gap between his current state and the state he has become. No complain, he has to do something about it, take action and move on.

        Secondly, a leader must not give excuse for nonperformance. We are imperfect human beings full of imperfect thoughts which lead us to imperfections in decision and actions. This is reason why we all are bound to make mistakes often. As a leader, taking a decision or action which is unpopular or wholly wrong does not mean that we have failed or are weak. But giving excuses for a wrong decision or action is evidence of failure and weakness. If this persists, then such a leader has lost the right to lead. In saner climes, rather than complain or offer excuses for not performing, leaders prefer to resign. They know that their lives neither begin nor end with such a position that gives them stress as a result of their unsuitability for it. In such climes with a high number of developed human beings, leaders know that nothing less than result delivery is expected from them and when they cannot achieve as expected, they give way for a person who can do better to step in. What matters is the general interest and this is why they are successful. This is not the reality in our clime where the perks of office and fraudulent enrichment associated with positions blind the people here and lead them to mortgage their souls to the devil.

     A grievous wrong or sin a leader might commit is to apportion blames to others as reason for not performing as expected. Even if a leader has delegated responsibilities to others, yet he is finally answerable. Former American President, Harry Truman was famous for always having a card on his table with the inscription. “the buck stops here.” The president knew that whatever happened, it all ended with him. Blaming other people, past or present or circumstances is not the reason why a person was elected or appointed into a position. The leader is there to fix whatever problems there might be and not complain, give excuses or blame anyone or anything. Blaming of any kind is also another form of ineffectiveness and open declaration of weakness, lack of capacity to deliver results. This is why the leader as a change agent, is appointed or elected to use his skills to move his organization, department or agency to a higher level. The failures or maladministration of the previous leadership has happened and is a fact that cannot be changed! Blaming that leadership is a waste of time and resources. What the new leader needs to do is take a reality assessment, understand what he is inheriting, ask relevant questions to inform him on how the present situation was arrived at, cast a vision of an ideal future and then strategize to achieve that vision. For us in this country, it has always been business as usual and luckily for our so-called leaders, the led do not demand quality delivery of those presiding over their commonwealth. The people mostly use the wrong yardsticks to measure and assess the performance of their leaders. And this is a real challenge to us.        Finally, a leader must not criticize others, especially those working under him. If anyone makes a mistake, the leader as coach or mentor should discuss it with the person to understand the underlying factors that led to the mistake. Public criticism has its negative effects on the subordinate whereas the leader should see it as an opportunity to know such a subordinate better and further get the best possible out of him. The worst criticism is when a leader makes it a habit to use every opportunity available to him to criticize and malign his predecessor(s). This is not how to score political capital. It is a waste of time and resources. When we apply these to our situation in Imo State and Nigeria in general, it is evident that our leaders, especially political leaders, have been guilty of all these sins discussed above. These sins have been diversionary in nature and without any benefit to the ordinary man. When a person assumes a leadership position of any nature, he should take a cue from Peter Drucker who said thus: “the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” Some people call this “reality” “status report.” It gives the new leader an awareness of the current state of things and serves as a guide towards casting a vision and formulating a strategy


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