Over this past weekend, my family, community and friends bid farewell to our mother. My mother (may her soul RIP) was filled with compassion and always generous with the little food, clothes or space in the house to accommodate others. She was a leader in the church ministry supporting my father for over 40 years. She also took her central place in the house as our pillar of strength, adviser and mentor.
With her passing, the question that we wrestled with was who will keep the family united given that my father is frail and aging day by day. We, the elder siblings stay with our families away from rural home. We pondered, who among the younger brothers and the nieces and nephews has what it takes to keep the family intact?
This might be a conversation that goes on in many families after the passing of a central figure. Most families grow quickly apart because of lack of unity and oneness of purpose.
You might be wondering, what has this to do with leadership?
Leadership comes from calamities. Just like with death, political oppression, poverty, wars and similar circumstances are breeding grounds for true leadership to emerge. Examples abound from Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Kwame Nkrumah and many others. In the words of Myles Munroe, “human beings do not become rulers or leaders. They are born with this capability. They just wait for a season. Every purpose has its time”.
The question is, when the crisis and challenges knock on your door, will you be able to rise to the occasion to claim your leadership spot? Will you realise that this might be your season to change your life and that of others?
I would suggest that those who rise to the occasion have the following characteristics:
1. They believe in their leadership potential. I submit to the view that we are all born with the leadership potential. The only distinguishing factor is the courage to manifest this latent potential. The environment can be ripe for the taking but the individual should believe in their potential to lead. It starts with knowing yourself – knowing your area of gifting and your purpose.
2. They claim their role: Once you claim your leadership position, you need to be prepared to walk the walk and talk the talk. Becoming a leader means getting your skin in the game to create the future you desire for your self and your team. Great leaders are cognisant of the present and the inherent challenges. They make peace with the past to create the new tomorrow.
3. They are prepared to be in the cold: On assuming leadership, you soon realise that it is not a smooth sail position. People will start to have issue with you the person, instead of engaging with the content of your argument. Others will have qualms just because they are no longer able to control you. Be your own independent person and remain true to the new-found course.
4. As Great leaders, they are followers too: The simplest recipe for failure in leadership is to think of your self as indispensable, know it all encyclopaedia. To become a great leader, you must have learned from those who came before you. I made an example of my mom being a humble person. That quality did not make her a weak leader in church and other walks of life. I learned from her that you need to listen and learn from the ideas of others to become a great leader. Invite ideas and suggestions from others to build a brighter future for all.
Think Big, Dream Wild & Prosper
Tex Hlalele is a life and business coach and inspirational speaker. He is the author of the book, Face The Person In The Mirror. Book coaching and speaking engagements by calling +27 64 6566174 or visit http://bit.ly/dreamsmadepossible
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