Dr Cephas Mukuka says those who want to aspire for high political offices should have “big hearts” to accommodate a lot of wrongdoings and that political players who have made it big in the game have played around with tolerance and forgiveness.
“The same goes with preachers who have made it big in the industry; they no doubt have mingled with the same elements. Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest leaders America has ever produced in the history of that nation, shocked the world when he appointed his enemy in his government,” says Dr Mukuka.
“Lincoln remains an icon in global politics. Pope John Paul II shook the world when he requested for the release of a young man who shot him. The intention was to have him killed once and for all, but God refused to allow that. Dr Kenneth Kaunda had a lot of his political enemies off the hook. Some of these people actually had wanted to topple him using the bullet and not the ballot. When the whole world expected blood, Kaunda had to pardon them. Today Kaunda is a huge global name respected and admired for his sense of humour. South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela, even after spending 27 years in jail, when he came out of prison, he spoke unity and forgiveness. Most people in the world wondered if the man was human or angelic? The great Mahatma Gandhi encouraged civil disobedience as opposed to shedding innocent blood.”
It seems everybody defines leadership differently but we really like the way John Maxwell defines leadership, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
Irrespective of how we define a leader, he or she can prove to be a difference maker between success and failure. A good leader has a futuristic vision and knows how to turn his ideas into real-world success stories.
In our view the supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible.
Honesty and integrity are two important ingredients which make a good leader. How can you expect your followers to be honest when you lack these qualities yourself? Leaders succeed when they stick to their values and core beliefs and without ethics, this will not be possible.
To be an effective leader, you should be confident enough to ensure that others follow your commands. If you are unsure about your own decisions and qualities, then your subordinates will never follow you. As a leader, you have to be oozing with confidence, show some swagger and assertiveness to gain the respect of your subordinates. This does not mean that you should be overconfident, but you should at least reflect the degree of confidence required to ensure that your followers trust you as a leader.
Probably the most difficult job for a leader is to persuade others to follow. It can only be possible if you inspire your followers by setting a good example. When the going gets tough, they look up to you and see how you react to the situation. If you handle it well, they will follow you. As a leader, should think positive and this positive approach should be visible through your actions. Stay calm under pressure and keep the motivation level up. As John Quincy Adams puts it, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” If you are successful in inspiring your subordinates, you can easily overcome any current and future challenge easily.
Your followers look up to you and if you want them to give their all, you will have to be passionate about it too. When your followers see you getting your hands dirty, they will also give their best shot.
If they feel that you are not fully committed or lacks passion, then it would be an uphill task for the leader to motivate your followers to achieve the goal.
Until you clearly communicate your vision to your followers and tell them the strategy to achieve the goal, it will be very difficult for you to get the results you want. Simply put, if you are unable to communicate your message effectively to your followers, you can never be a good leader.
Apart from having a futuristic vision, a leader should have the ability to take the right decision at the right time. Decisions taken by leaders have a profound impact on masses. A leader should think long and hard before taking a decision.
When it comes to accountability, there’s need to follow what Arnold Glasow said: “A good leader takes little more than his share of the blame and little less than his share of the credit.”
A leader cannot do everything. It is important for a leader to focus on key responsibilities while leaving the rest to others. By that, we mean empowering your followers and delegating tasks to them. If you continue to micromanage them, they will develop a lack of trust and more importantly, you will not be able to focus on important matters, as you should be.
What separates a leader from a follower? Steve Jobs said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” In order to get ahead in today’s fast-paced world, a leader must be creative and innovative at the same time. There’s need to think out of the box to come up with unique ideas and turn those ideas and goals into reality.
Leaders should develop empathy with their followers. Unfortunately, we have many leaders who follow a dictatorial style and neglect empathy altogether. Due to this, they fail to make a closer connection with their followers. Understanding the problems of your followers and feeling their pain is the first step to become an effective leader. Even that is not enough until you work hard and provide your followers with the suitable solution to their problems.