It was John Maxwell who defined leadership as influence nothing more, nothing less. I quite agree with him, that a leader is someone who has an unusual capacity to influence people. What isn’t so clear is what the core constituent of that influence is. We all seek to attain influence in life because, accomplishment in our world is a lot easier when you are influential. Our ideas sail faster through the bureaucratic bottle necks of our society, when we are influential. But what is real influence made up of?A lot of people are quick to say vision,and they are right in a sense. Vision has the ability to galvanize followership and inspire commitment like almost nothing else. A leader must at least see ahead and beyond what his followers see,because if the blind leads the blind they will both fall into the same ditch. But the question is, what is responsible for that vision? And what is the force that convinces people to follow a vision?
Others will say that sacrifice is a key element in leadership. They are also right. Nothing moves people to sacrifice for a leader’s cause, like what he has given up personally to pursue it. However,the question we must ask is; What is the driving force of human sacrifice? What made a Nelson Mandela give up almost 30years of his life to see the reformation of his society for good? What motive established his influence upon us all?
Some will insist that influence is about knowledge. They are once again right. A leader must possess an awesome mastery of the facts. But what enables his knowledge and ideas capture human hearts? What makes people accept as authoritative, the facts he propounds? What makes us submit our lives to their principles?
Why do we follow the Nelson Mandelas, the Mother Theresas, the Muhammad Yunus’s, The Desmond Tutus? The Ghandis, The Martin Luther Kings? What made Germans follow the Hitler? In spite of his wrong. What was the driving force of their colossal influence? The answer is … LOVE.
We followed these leaders because we loved them and were convinced of their love for us. Isn’t that true? Isn’t what we call charisma, the ability of a leader to convince us, that he or she is acting in our best interest? Did not Maxwell insist that people really don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care? Love is the mobilizing element of leadership. True leaders authentically love the people they lead.
Would it have been possible to sacrifice so much in the fulfillment of their visions without an established love in their heart for their people? Their love is why they persist against all odds. It is why they give, serve, travel, work and persevere. The demands of leadership would be impossible to bear, if the leader did not love first his people and his cause.
Please realize that leadership isn’t politics. One way you know you are a leader and not a politician is by answering the question; Do people follow me after my tenure in office? If the answer is no,you’re not a leader you are a politician. Politicians are skeptically followed for a tenure,leaders are followed for a lifetime. Leadership isn’t fame or popularity. There are many famous non entities, who are a nuisance to our world. Leadership isn’t fortune, what your fortune is eventually used for, is what determines if you are a leader or not.
The temptations of leadership will be impossible to deal with if we don’t genuinely love people. The worst kind of leaders are those whose love, is directed toward themselves and not their people. Such leadership selfishness is the driving force for corruption in most of the nations in my continent. These self seeking,self serving, self loving brand of leaders are the anathema of the leadership profession. A leader’s love for his people is a safeguard against all the pitfalls of the leadership profession.
The backwardness of my continent persists because this much required brand of loving leadership has been scarce. What we have had are dictators, whose love has been for power and not the people. Such leaders are even willing to fight and kill their very own people to consolidate their hold on power. The Syrian debacle is a critical and unfortunate example of this. Every loving leader knows that the noblest task of authentic leadership is self sacrifice. They also know when for the greater good of the people, they have to step down. Unfortunately, what we see are insecure leaders,who can’t sacrifice their office, talk less of themselves for the good of their people.
In any case, loving leadership is the greatest need of the hour. These new breed of leaders will be free from selfishness,avarice and corruption. Their love will be directed toward their people and not themselves. This love will be the driving force of their policies, decisions,actions and initiatives. These leaders will want nothing from the people, but everything good for them. They will not hesitate to sacrifice themselves in the pursuit of their love-centered vision. They will in turn harvest the love and loyalty of their followers,and use their newly found influence for the positive transformation of our society. CHOOSE TO BE A PERSON OF INFLUENCE TODAY.
THE GREATEST IS LOVE!!!
Love Dynamics Global.
Enthronement Assembly Lagos.
@lovedynamix on twitter.
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