This month’s focus: As the ANC moves towards Mangaung this month, almost every newspaper we pick up in South Africa pronounces on the leadership we haven’t got; but do we have a good idea of what that leadership should look like and the leadership role each and every one of us can play?
It’s probably true to say that never before has this planet put so much emphasis on leadership and leadership development. It’s probably equally true to say that, with the notable exception to the events leading up to 1994, seldom has an emphasis on real leadership been needed in South Africa than right now. Paradoxically, seldom in our history has there been so little emphasis on leading and so much on political self-gain.
At the same time, unfortunately, this is not a peculiarly South African phenomenon. Politics, and not leadership, was the focus in the year (perhaps more) leading up to the US presidential elections this year…and if we look around there are plenty of other examples.
Yet, leading (by definition) can never be self-serving – well, it can’t be self-serving and effective! For someone to lead, someone must also follow; and it is this delicate balance that all effective leaders are constantly grappling with. Moreover, there is a third entity that supersedes the simple notion of leaders and followers: there is a transcending relationship between them, something more important than the individual parts. The transcending relationship is about both sides being focused on the greater good – in fact, on both sides working towards achieving the greater good.
Implicit in this notion is that both sides need to take responsibility for bringing about this dynamic. Accordingly, there is a need for us to stop pointing fingers – for where does this get us except frustrated and disappointed and worse – and to use it as a welcome reminder to look at ourselves and see how we might use this opportunity to find ways to improve ourselves. What kind of person – leader and follower – do I want to be? Intuitively, we all know, without verbalising or thinking about it, the type of person we want to be.
So, just BE it! Be the person you want to be, in every moment. Try to be that person, more of the time.
It’s a long shot, I know, but what if more and more of us did just that every day? Just how much better would the world become for us? And how much happier would we be within ourselves?
Food for thought:
‘In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.’
I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts
Wishing you all a wonderful festive season and a 2013 that brings you all that you wish for.