THE PREMIER FUNCTION OF A LEADER

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” If you don’t know where you are heading, you are not worth following” – J. Wilfred Zeon

I followed the debates throughout the election period this year. I heard journalists asked many of the candidates what their vision for the country is.  And some of the answers left me conjecturing.  One of them said, “Oh! When we get there, we’ll cross”. I am not a politician neither did I  do political science in college. However,  I know that if you are really passionate and confident about leading a group, having a crystal clear vision must not wait until you reach the crossroad. Sadly, that is the orientation of so many leaders in Africa, especially political leaders. Their motivation for aspiring for political office is not a desire to serve and improve the lives of their people and institutions. Their primary motivation and vision pertaining to how they can accrue effortless riches for themselves, their families and political party rather than the entire citizenry.

If you are that type of leader, you have failed the first test of what the premier function of a leader is. To me, there are six fundamental functions of a leader. The first and foremost function is to show the destination. Showing the destination is the act of creating a vivid vision. The destination is the vision, mission, goals, objective that a group is striving to achieve. One of my favorite leadership teachers JP Kotter defines leadership as “The development of vision and strategies, the alignment of relevant people behind those strategies and the empowerment of individuals to make the vision happen despite obstacles”. So at the genesis of leadership is the development of vision.

Look, my friend, as a leader in your family, organization, business, church or community, you must be able to point to people where you are taking them. Your work involves transporting them from where they are today to where they can be tomorrow. Ask yourself: where am I leading this group to? What direction are we headed? What is that compelling future you are leading them to? Don’t tell me that when you get to that river, we will cross. Because if you don’t know where we are heading, you are not worth following.

Live your essence!

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