Why Nigeria Lacks Great Leaders-by Femi Aderupatan
Great leaders have to be capable of inspiring others. Either by offering an exciting vision of the future, even if it turns out to be the dark and perverted vision offered by Hitler, and by that token a dull speaker like Bill Gates can inspire people with his vision of the future. Or by appealing to people's idealism and desire to do good as Jack Kennedy did when he asked America's young generation to ask themselves "not what you can do for yourselves but what you can do for your country," or by reaching out to people to reassure and offer solidarity as he did when he proclaimed, "Ich bin ein Berliner".
I thought about President Jonathan and the past Nigerian leaders once more. They were not well liked leaders, not inspiring perhaps, and not respected. They were not calm and unpredictable in the way they behaved, prone to fits of anger. Does not have good qualities in a leader in times of crisis - an anchor to hang onto. Their behaviour were also unfair and scrupulously unobjective in their treatment of other people and their ideas. Not prone to making preconceived judgements - they don't listened sympathetically and respectfully to others and Nigeria people are unhappy to bring out their suggestions.
Most importantly of all they were so interested in power so they could not take good decisions for the common good.
Leadership is about being comfortable with change, and understanding that the status quo works against progress in most cases. Every quarter and every month, there is change--things are in constant motion. While others may not be aware of this, leaders assume it. In knowing that change is inevitable, the true leader seeks positive change for a purpose and for the better
Mankind had for thousands of generations picked out their leaders from among small bands of hunter gatherers. They had been successful in doing this, for their genes survived while the genes of their less successful brethren died out
The world, however, is full of poor and erratic leaders in spite of this. Is it because they are swayed by the lure of power in making their decisions? And how do they get to be bosses in the first place. Is it because they are successful in ingratiating themselves with the people that do have power?
Perhaps part of the problem is that decisions regarding who becomes a leader in an organization is normally governed by an up-down process of selection while the million-year-old evolutionary process of selecting leaders through a down-up process rarely happens.
Given this strategy what can we do to implement it? How do we cultivate home grown talent from among our people, and how do we identify this talent? How do we involve the shop floor in the selection process? And how do we canvass the people there, and engage them in a dialogue to find the leaders of quality?
In this connection great leaders do not always make themselves but rather they reluctantly have greatness thrust upon them by their peers such as happened at the American continental congress which threw up men like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and other extraordinary men. Would these men have become great leaders in their society in normal times? And in answer to that question put to me all those years ago I would now say that great men or women are people who can turn the tide of history for the good of everyone while ordinary mortals like me and you are simply carried along by it.
In that light Napoleon could have been a greater man but his unsated lust for power undid him in the end.
He was in this sense a failed leader, and not the first, nor the last.