What makes many of us not achieve their plans? Is it lack of time, money, ideas or simply fate? John Maxwell insists everything rises and falls on leadership. Let us examine the place of leadership in the challenge.
I will start with a story of a young man who went to the city from the north. He went straight to the world and entered the ways of the city. At a time when the mantra “do you know anybody?” was the trending affair if one wanted to acquire a job or break through. But he did not know anybody. So he went from one office to another looking for a job. One morning, he went to an office and the receptionist rudely asked him to leave the office, he will be called when an opening appears. He had heard that over and over. It was always a polite way of turning away job seekers.
On this occasion though he did not leave the premises. He stuck within and waited for the boss. When the boss came, he inquired what the young man wanted and the receptionist informed him about his insistence to see him. “Just to see me?” the boss wondered. “Well, let him in”
The brief encounter between the young man from the north and the boss was enough to make the difference. The boss asked questions that peered into the young man’s character, leadership and personality. He was at last convinced that this is the type of person they really wanted to have on board. In the last few days, they had held interviews to fill in a position internally, but with the new knowledge, the boss thought otherwise. He ringed his secretary and the human resource manager to organize for a formal interview for the young man. Long story, the company hired the young man and he brought in needed transformation.
Often we fail to notice the difference maker in life. Action. Leaders bring in change. Leaders are needed whenever change is needed, and change is the constant of life. Without it, there will be no growth, no flipping of the next chapter. Leaders are action oriented, to stimulate and sustain change.
But why do people dislike change? Why are we inclined to remain where we are even when we know for growth, we need it? There are four Hs that can explain how humans respond so as to avoid change. They are, Hesitation, Hibernation, Hiding, Hypocrisy.
Hesitating: Putting things away for another day is the biggest crippler to leadership. The belief that there will be a better time, a nice day, a sunny day and a situation that soon everything will fall into place. It sometimes takes a whole lifetime of postponing just to realize that you forgot to live because you forgot to act.
Hibernating: When the ostrich sees fire coming from the Savannah fields, it buries its head deep in the sand. In the hope that the fire will pass and because it does not see it, it will not consume it. People have taken consolation when faced with a leadership challenge to simply hibernate and retreat to a shell of safety for the moment with prayers that the situation will disappear naturally. Unfortunately, the true leaders can only succeed when they stand out and face the circumstances.
Hide: Do you feel an urge not to appear or meet some people. Do you fear even posting on Facebook or Linkedin? In a paralysis of leadership, some people even fear meeting friends, or former school mates. The reality of say, meeting them and realizing how they have progressed and yet they are stuck where they are. In essence this can trigger a cycle of fear that can be difficult to conquer. Until you decide otherwise, hiding can make one slip further to misery. One way I got out of this challenge was telling myself, “what is the worst that can happen?” and realizing the fact that there will always be people better than you, some worse than you and some just like you. Be confident in where you are since life is not a competition.
Hypocrisy: In the task to fight back the action oriented leadership challenge, we may find ourselves being hypocritical. The act of talking big without tangible action becomes the trend. Every time there is always this big project on ones lips but translating it to action becomes the challenge. Hypocrisy can also set in inform of acquiring things to floss with. In an attempt to cover the inadequacies, we buy that latest phone, car, or cloth just to project the ‘right image’. The leadership challenge is therefore to ensure that you realize that when you think you are flossing, people see beyond the floss, and can sense the truth in you. In fact, that new car model will attract praises in the office for a while and soon another model appears and you are forgotten. Live within your reality.