I can forgive the imperfections of a leader; but to excuse those imperfections will simply prove that you don’t understand leadership and probably should not have been made a leader. I clearly understand that there is no one who is perfect. And I do not expect any leader to be perfect as well.
Everyone who became a leader was first a human being before getting a chance to lead. If you are human then it means you have your weaknesses and may sometimes have them exposed. Those who are not leading may not have their weaknesses exposed. A leader should realize that he or she is always under the spotlight and it means you are the first person that people will see.
When you are leading other people, you must not make it look like you have no weaknesses or things you are dealing with. When you relate with them in that manner, you will be shooting yourself in the leg. The people you are trying to lead will think that you are expecting too much from them and once they do, they will also start watching out for your own shortcomings.
I have been in organizations where the leader seems to be unrealistic with the demands made on the followers. After a while, the followers turned round to start making a list of the leader’s weaknesses. If a leader continues this way, it will only be a matter of time before the followers disappear and there will be no one to lead.
At some point, you will realize that you are no longer leading but competing with the people you are leading. You need wisdom to relate with your followers on this issue. I should also say that the wisdom needed here begins with treating your follower right and not painting them black or running them down in front of other people because of their weaknesses. I am not saying you should tolerate everyone’s weaknesses at the expense of the organisation.
When you need to make choices about retaining or letting people go, one of the things you consider is the strength of the person versus the weaknesses of the person and how it helps the organisation. If the person has more strengths you will consider keeping them. If the person has more strengths but there is one weakness too dangerous for the organisation, you cannot keep such people.
That’s not my focus for now so I will just stick to helping the leader realize that he is not perfect. As you lead, there are people who will see one of two things that are not so encouraging about you. You may not even know some of them. That is why a leader should always get feedback from the people he is leading or from those who are his colleagues and mentors.
One major problem of leadership is the leaders who believe that they are perfect. Once you believe you are perfect it will also affect the way you lead others. You will always expect them to do things your own way. Your own ideas will look like the only worthy ideas to you and you will not be receptive to the ideas of other people.
A leader can be very skilful and also very wise but from the moment that person believes he or she is perfect, there will be those who just want to leave you and let you prove to the world that you are foolish. Sometimes they don’t even need to do anything for you to prove to the world that you were not smart enough.
Be humble and don’t try to make yourself look like a superman. You are not! You are a real human being with weaknesses and responsibilities to lead. You don’t have to go around showing your weaknesses but admit that you are not perfect and play more to your strengths in order to lead effectively. If the weaknesses you are displaying can be worked on as you go on, please work on them.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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