By Lindokuhle Dr-Dream Mnisi
WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
WHO IS A GOOD LEADER?
WHEN DOES ONE BECOME A LEADER?
These are the questions that many people ask themselves and struggle to formulate answers for them. It is enormously hard to tell who and what is a good leader/leadership. People confuse leadership with influence. These is not due to lack of knowledge but because these two things seem to correlate with each other. These may all come from the past, which many people can’t run away from, but that is not the main point, the question still remains as “What is leadership?”
In the past, people used to believe that a leader is a person who makes orders, rules and laws, those with higher powers, those respected and honored for what they are. It didn’t matter whether those (rules, laws, orders etc.) were fair to the people but they had to follow them. African countries were colonized, Kings and monarchies ruled in many African countries and all that was called leadership. Was it really leadership? The question still remains.
In nowadays, people are more literate and can think to decide for themselves. Those people who were referred to as leaders are called dictators. And yes some of them are really dictators. But how do you tell if a person is a good leader or a dictator? Is a role model a leader or an influence? These lead us to the definition of leadership.
It is the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others to accomplishment of a common task (Wikipedia). This definition leads us to the question, “What is social influence?”
Social influence occurs when an individual’s thoughts, feelings or actions are affected by other people. This influence takes many forms and can be seen as conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, and leadership, persuasion, sales and marketing. People tend to allow influence from liked and respected people (famous celebrities or politicians) even if the influence is extremely negative.
Since leadership can be defined through many different ways, depending on an individual’s perspective, I have also formulated my own definition of leadership.
Lindokuhle Mnisi defines leadership as:
· It is the act of attraction whereby a person persuades another with a certain ideology and influences to get those people following them. The ideology is implanted into the targeted people’s minds, they are therefore convinced about the idea and then they follow. An act of propaganda is also used to “propagandize” people.
A single word has the power to lead a number of people, negatively and positively so. It can cause damage by leading people to the wrong path, and that is bad influence. At the same time it can lead some to their destinations, and that is positive influence. Being a good and respected leader takes many years of practice if you are not born as one. It may start within you, your family, friends and peers or the society you live in. People may regard you as a leader even before you notice. But what do you do when you realize that there are people who are learning from you everyday? Do you take advantage and act arrogantly seeing yourself as the best thing on earth? Yes, some do like that only because they do not know what a leader is.
Mothers and fathers have the responsibilities in their hands, the responsibility of taking care of their families and children. But it is more surprising how they abandon their families and take care of their friends, improving their lifestyles to a lavish one. In today’s life, there is no difference between a male and female as they now do tragic things equally. The violence and abuse that happens in homes is a lesson to the children, and a lesson leads people. In this case it is leadership and not a good one. Leaders are everywhere, same as influencers.
Take advantage of the opportunity you have to lead the people, ensure to do it wisely and positively. Lead yourself to the right direction so you can manage to lead other people to the same right direction. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you do not need a deep voice to be or sound like a leader, you just need your brains and the courage to encourage. Don’t use power to get people following and doing what you do but use power to ensure you have the strength to face all challenges you may come across as you lead in your own territory. Everyone is a celebrity in their own territory so avoid taking advantage that people follow your lead.
Last but not least:
Take care of your reputation before taking care of yourself.
Build your name before building your muscles.
Spread the love before loving yourself.
And introspect before you act.