The term leadership can be seen as the ability to pull ones’ subordinate along for the purpose of achieving a specific objective or goal. According to Koontz Etals, Leadership “is an influence, that is, the act of influencing people so as to strive willingly and enthusiastically towards the achievement of a goal.” Leadership, therefore, entails service to people for the achievement of a common goal; service then becomes an essential ingredient for good exhibition of leadership. If service is at the centre of leadership, the big question we are immediately confronted with is this; what then becomes the fate of a country that is ruled by self-centered leaders? This write up is inspired by the need for service in leadership while stressing servant-leadership style as the best for us, Nigerians.
With blessings accrued to her by God of mineral resources, breed of intellectuals, skilled and available man power; the lack of genuine service has crippled the nation (Nigeria) such twrong he nation which was on its feet is gradually crumbling financially and morally with some citizens suffering bitterly. Over the years, Nigeria as a country has suffered tremendously in the hands of crooked and self-centered leaders. It is obvious that the rich in Nigeria gets richer while the poor get poorer; even the recessed Nigeria we are passing through today is as a result of our desire to always take and not to build.
Our leadership spirit must foster unity, promote harmony, sustain both human and material development, and ultimately, it must promote service which is a valuable action, deed or effort performed to satisfy a demand. “The servant leader is a servant first… ” this begins with the natural feeling for service of others, hence, a conscious aspiration to lead. Such person is different from the one who is a leader first, perhaps, because of the need to assuage a curious power drive or to acquire material possessions. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by the one at the top of the pyramid, the servant-leader shares power, put the needs of others first, and help people develop their talents, so as to encourage effective performance in the society.
What Nigeria society needs, therefore, is servant-leaders who are able to acknowledge their need for service (people who put God first); men of integrity, who can boldly distinguish right from wrong and stand on their convictions despite pressures and temptations. Persons of good character who have a patriotic love for their followers. The Nigeria leadership system needs prominent figures not only on books but of character to be role models, mentors and coaches, to inspire a life of dignity, integrity and responsibility among the youths who eventually would take over the affairs of the country in their retirement or departure from this earthly life.
This means that, emphasis must be placed on service to others, a holistic approach to work, promotion of communal life, and sharing/distribution of power in decision making. The leaders and followers must be committed so as to design a goal program to fulfill the vision of the Nigeria we want.
Winston Churchill once said: “never give in, never give in, never ever give in, in something, great or small, large or petty-never give in except to the convictions of honour and good sense.” This is what our country needs from its leaders which is, to have the mindset of service, integrity, self-discipline, among others. The followers on the other hand must learn to work and support their leaders in their quest to serve them, taken into cognizance that without good followers, the leaders would be frustrated. When this is done, true leadership would be achieved and consequently, the Nigeria we want would become a reality.
-WRITTEN BY: ADAMA CYRIL