• Sunday, February 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Everything rises and falls on leadership

Uplifting leadership: why goal getters are also destroyers

I have watched with utter astonishment how leadership is not held largely responsible when things go wrong in a family, company, institution, state, or even a country. The above caption depicts my thoughts about leadership. Leadership can make or mar a country, an institution, an agency, a company, a department, a region, or even a family. The leader is the driver of the vehicle, and he determines the direction of the vehicle.

If this topic is not trashed, leaders will always blame citizens for their shortcomings. It is time for leaders in all strata to begin to take responsibility and see where they aren’t meeting the expectations of the people they are leading.

When an organisation wants to make a change, they change the CEO. Likewise, the CEO takes responsibility for the good and the bad that happens in his domain. We need to situate what leadership is. Everything rises and falls on leadership. I have heard people complain about the kind of followers/citizens they lead.

No human being in the world was born sane. I mean, no human being is born to follow rules, and be obedient and upright. Or how do you explain a baby who is being breastfed by the mother and suddenly bites the mum and starts smiling? Who taught the baby to do wicked things? It is in the nature of man to oppose rules and want to be disobedient. It is the leader who will think of how to make them straight. What sets one nation apart from another are the rules put in place by the leaders. Followers don’t make rules. They abide by the rules set by their leaders.

At a point in human existence, God regretted making man because of their actions.

What did God do eventually? He set out laws and added the consequences. It is the fear of consequences that makes people obey laws. Even in developed countries, people don’t willingly obey laws. They obey the rules because they are afraid of the consequences. Leaders are responsible for the kind of people they produce. Your role as the leader, amongst other things, is to shape the mindset of your followers or team members.

Corporate organisations instil a culture in their members, a principle evident in Rwanda’s transformation. Previously torn by citizen violence, today, Rwanda is applauded for its cleanliness, a result of the president’s leadership and stringent laws. The citizens’ behaviour changed through effective consequence management. While citizens bear responsibilities, an upright leader’s decisions and actions guide them. Nation-building involves collective effort, but the leader shoulders a significant burden in shaping the nation’s direction.

When Mr. Fashola, the executive governor of Lagos state [2007 – 2015], cleaned Oshodi [a business district in Lagos known for harbouring notorious gangs], it was not the citizens that cleaned it. It was the leadership that cleaned it. It’s all about leadership. We all remember how Governor Fashola stopped a senior military man who passed through the dedicated Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] lane. That singular action made people sit up and understand that there are grave consequences for driving on the BRT lane. If that action had been allowed to slip away without consequences, it would give confidence to more people to take the restricted lane.

When you see people misbehave continuously, it is a sign that there are no grave consequences for their misbehaviour.

You can’t, but remember the heroine of NAFDAC. NAFDAC is the food and drug agency in Nigeria. Dora Akunyili was the DG of the agency at that time. It was the same agency that was dormant for many years, and from the moment this great woman took over, the direction changed. The nation is yet to recover from the impact of her leadership during her time in that institution. Fake drug merchants were sent out of business because of her leadership. Unfortunately, there wasn’t consistent leadership, and that is why we’re back to the same issue years later.

The political class, through the legislature, is expected to make and pass laws as well as the consequences.

Corporate organisations instil a culture in their members, a principle evident in Rwanda’s transformation. Previously torn by citizen violence, today, Rwanda is applauded for its cleanliness, a result of the president’s leadership and stringent laws. The citizens’ behaviour changed through effective consequence management. While citizens bear responsibilities, an upright leader’s decisions and actions guide them. Nation-building involves collective effort, but the leader shoulders a significant burden in shaping the nation’s direction.

One last example I will mention is that of Dubai, as highlighted in the book: My Vision-written by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Today, Dubai is the toast of the world. It came by leadership. The citizens followed along in the direction of the leader. Every leader is the one who will make the kind of followers he desires.

As leaders, we must wake up to the burden of responsibility that lies on our shoulders.

God bless Nigeria and all her citizens!

Oluwole Dada is the Head of Sales and Marketing at SecureID Limited. He can be reached on www.oluwoledada.com