I watched a documentary about a pack of thirsty wolves in a polar zone, where water was scarce due to the frigid climatic condition.
All the surrounding lakes were frozen, but one wolf discovered a tiny crack in one of the frozen lakes and started to drink water from it.
The rest of the wolves attempted to join, but the wolf fought them off, keeping the lake all to itself while watching the rest of the pack salivate as it drank its fill of the cold water.
Another wolf was not happy with the selfish wolf, so it went to another frozen lake and forcefully created a crack in it, even when it hurt its paw. The wolf invited the rest of the pack to drink water while standing back and watching them take their fill; this, right here, is exemplary leadership if I ever saw one.
If I were a wolf mind reader, I would think that the pack would not only be grateful but must have also learned from the selfless wolf and probably made it the leader without second thoughts. Nothing depicts leadership more than this story of the selfless wolve. If I learned anything from that documentary, it is what a leader is not.
A leader is not someone that sits back and watches others do his bidding. A leader is not someone who places his needs above others.
Contrary to general perception, leadership is not occupying an esteemed position and having others bend backward to satisfy or stand in awe of “the supposed leader.”
We have compromised the standard of leadership with this belief system. If leadership was for self-pleasure and self-gratification, then I wonder where the phrase “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” came from, which holds every modicum of truth.
The makings of a good leader reside in good followership.
Show me a good follower, and I will show you a good leader, one of Aristotle’s words of wisdom says, “He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.” Good leadership starts from good followership. I read the story of the great man who walked the earth, in my opinion. He portrayed leadership by washing his friend’s feet.
The myth that leadership is a generic factor is what it is: a myth. Leaders are not born but made. In the book, “Why You Act The Way You Do.” Tim Lahaye identified some temperaments with leadership attributes based on their character traits. He mentioned four temperaments: Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy.
Sanguine traits are: outgoing, warm, friendly, enthusiastic, and compassionate.
Melancholy traits are: gifted, analytical, aesthetic, self-sacrificing, enterprising, and self-disciplined.
Phlegmatic traits are: calm, quiet, easy-going, dependable, objective, diplomatic, efficient, organized, practical, and humorous.
Choleric traits are strong-willed, independent, visionary, practical, productive, and decisive.
Naturally, choleric are perceived to be born leaders because of their obvious character traits. But let me burst your bubbles; anyone can acquire these qualities; it is just a matter of being intentional about what and who you want to be. It all starts with your thoughts; “a proverb says that a man becomes what he thinks about.” If you have heard these words- “Your thinking becomes your action, your action becomes your habits, and your habits become your character, this is where it applies. Think and act like a leader, and you will become one.
We often confuse bosses with leaders. Being a superior or boss does not make a leader. There are leaders, and there are exceptional leaders. A leader can be visionary, decisive, and productive; these qualities are good. But if the traits of an exemplary leader are missing, the person is just another superior on a list.
Qualities that make an Exemplary Leader
- He is Self-motivated and seeks to motivate his followers. He is not a bully that sets unrealistic goals for his follower and dangles incentives before their eyes as bait to achieving his unrealistic goals.
- He sets the pace for others to follow.
- He is not afraid to stand for his principles, even if it means standing alone. Dr. Nelson Mandela is an example in this case.
- He has enough confidence in himself and his followers.
- He doesn’t blow an uncertain trumpet. He has a clear direction of his destination. If people like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs were ambivalent, I doubt they would be able to convince their friends to leave the known(steady source of income) for the unknown.
- He is corrigible and a good listener.
- He is a problem solver.
- He is empathic
- He is selfless
- He is sacrificial
- He does not seek accolades for his achievement because he is a man of the people.
Soon we will make an important decision as a nation. It is paramount for us to choose an exemplary leader. It takes a good leader to know one. I admonish all good leaders (in their own right) to choose for our nation a leader that has all it takes to take us to a greater level, as the future of the next generation depends on it. Get your voter’s card and vote a like mind.
I will conclude with this quote “A pessimist complains about the wind; an optimist expects it to change while a leader adjusts the sails.” Please, vote with this thought in mind.