Men’s Talks

When is a Leader Successful?

There are certain principles a successful leader is expected to imbibe.

There are so many metrics out there which people use to measure the success of a leader. Some use their financial capacity; others are of the view that a leader is only successful when he meets his responsibilities. The list of opinions could go as far as the views of people differ when it comes to the success of a leader. There are principles that are universally acceptable which if followed will make a leader successful. These principles have been proven to be true.

I beg to say that any fool can live up to his responsibilities if he is financially capable. He can put on the image of another when called to a scene. As much as it is important for a leader to meet up to his responsibilities, that is not the only yardstick that defines a successful leader. A man can be financially capable and yet he is not a successful leader. Finance does not impress success upon the path of a leader, but influence does. One might say money commands influence. That may be true to a certain extent, but it is limited. “For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellence of knowledge is, that wisdom gives life to them that have it.”

For a leader, wisdom is key in defining how successful he will be; it is the yardstick used in defining his success. A leader can only be said to be successful, when he succeeds in driving through his vision, virtues and other qualities to his followers so that his followers can carry on after him. As the saying goes “A leader without a successor was never a leader but someone in a position.”  Successful leaders play by these principles:

1. Vision:

Vision is a prerequisite for a leader. Have you ever imagined a leader with vision for his destination? What such a leader does is to drive his followers to any destination he finds himself. Vision distinguishes the leader; it gives him the face of a confident pilot who knows where he is piloting his ship. Men without vision, whether in business or social circle, do end up in isolation. For instance, a man that has no vision for his marriage tends to move to any direction. His direction depends on where he is being tossed to by the wind of life. For such a man, today he wants to travel out of the state, tomorrow he wants to change his location to elsewhere or even change the line of his business. He is not even considerate of his wife and children, but has been consumed in the lack of vision for his home. It will get to a point, where the children or even the wife will leave him in isolation. A leader is supposed to make the vision clear and stay put in it. He is the pilot of the ship, his followers are confident in the fact that he will drive them to a safe destination. A successful leader is concerned about how to drive his followers to a successful location through his vision.

2. Strong conviction:

There are times when his convictions will be questioned by his followers. This is because there are times when it will seem as if all is not going as planned. A strong conviction is what will keep him on track. At such times, some of his followers may leave, but a strong conviction will be all he needs to prove a point. When followers leave at such times, it is only a temporary departure. They only want to know if the leader really knows what he is doing. Once he is able to get it right, they will retrace their steps and will never doubt him again when he is faced with the same situation. The followers then learn from his steps and imbibe the same convictions he has. This is the simple reason a lion can only give birth to another lion. Their convictions are founded on killing other animals to survive and remain the king of the jungle. There are times when they chase and don’t get any. It does not make them a failure, but rather redefines their tactics. A successful leader is a leader whose convictions produce results no matter how long it might take. This is because his convictions are linked to his vision.

3. Acts with maturity:

Immaturity produces immaturity. If you as a leader is not immature, you cannot expect maturity from those following you. A leader must be matured in the emotional, mental, intellectual, physical and spiritual realm. Paul, an apostle of old said “When I was a child a spoke as a child, I understood as a child. I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” It is important that a leader comes to maturity, because it will be tested by situations and challenges. Maturity is reflected by your dependability, consistency and well-rounded life. A leader has to be everything the follower is not. And everything the follower wants to be. A successful leader acts with maturity. He knows when to relate with his followers in love when they are wrong; while transferring his traits to them.

4. Portrays the right values:

Leadership is by example. Human beings are wired to learn from what they see and not what people say. Every move made by a leader is being evaluated and studied by a follower. That is why it is important that he portrays the right value. As an analogy, a public office holder who is in charge of executing a contract takes the document home. He sends his son to reduce the amount of each material in the document by a certain amount. And the son asks him “but why dad?” He answers “It is to pay for the fee you asked me yesterday.” And then the boy steals at school. The school teacher reports to the father. The father gets angry and says “despite the entire good moral that I have been trying to teach you?” Followers learn through emulation and not just what the leaders say. Successful leaders portray and teach the right value with the consciousness that their followers are emulating them.

5. Knows the nature of his calling:

A leader that doesn’t want to work with people must be ready to be many things. A leader’s task is manifold. You are a parent to discipline, a teacher to instruct, a friend to encourage, an employer to supervise, an evangelist. All these roles are leaderships which can be collapsed in one word which is to guide. There are various distractions in trying to fulfil the call to leadership. This is because all other areas usually appear vital and important too, but there are specific areas of calling. A leader who knows and understands the nature of his calling is not easily distracted with the success of some other people. A successful leader pledges his life to the fulfilment of his calling no matter what he goes through.

6. Replicates himself:

Finally, a leader replicates himself in his followers. His followers develop unconscious competence from his attributes. They want to talk the way he talks and react to situations the same way he does. These unconscious competences develop as a result of his psychological and direct influence on them over time. In his absence, he can be sure that his followers can carry on where he stopped. A successful leader replicates himself in his followers. When people see his followers, they are confident he is well represented.

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“Each new generation is reared by its predecessor; the latter must therefore improve in order to improve its successor. The movement is circular.” – Emile Durkheim

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