In this our first blog post for the week, I will be sharing some thoughts on leadership. I find this topic very important and timely because our age and time are in need of leaders- purposeful and virtuous leaders. Lack of quality leadership accounts for a greater percentage of the problems we face in our society today especially in our country Nigeria. As we prepare for the 3023 elections, I hope that this write-up will guide us in making a right choice about who will become our leaders in different levels.
When it comes to leadership, there is this general conception that to be a leader is to be in a position of authority or to possess power. But over time, this generally-held view has been proven wrong. This is based on the fact that there are many people who occupy positions of authority but in truth, they fall short of what makes a leader. Leadership is not just a position in life. Leadership is a moral authority. Leadership is a way of being. As such, to be a boss is not to be a leader.
Leadership flows from who we are and it is virtues that make us who we are. Therefore, leadership is about virtues. Virtue comes from the Latin root word vir, meaning strength or power. Virtue is not something outside of us. Virtue means developing the actual habits of excellence at being human. A leader is meant to be virtuous. A virtuous leader is the one who is excellent at leading others and bringing out greatness in others.
A leader is not simply the one who leads others. Anyone can lead but not all of them are leaders. A leader is not a manipulator. A real or virtuous leader is the one who leads people to greatness, both in their areas of personal greatness and organizational greatness. A leader is the one who is interested in human beings and who has what it takes to bring people to greatness.
Lastly, leadership is about inspiring hope, bringing about greatness in people and creating hope, and bringing people to the highest level of maturity and human flourishing. A leader is not the one who speaks beautiful words. This is very important because most often, we tend to choose our leaders from what we hear them say. A leader is assessed not from the perspective of what they say but from the point of view of what they have done.
To be a virtuous leader is to be rooted in the four cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, courage and temperance. These virtues are the pillars upon which our life is anchored. They are fundamental in the life of everybody and more importantly in the life of leaders. But above all, every leader is meant have the virtue of magnanimity. To be magnanimous is to be large-hearted. If you are not large-hearted, you will find it difficult to serve others. Leadership is all about a virtuous service to humanity.