If we were to take a poll on how many people have complained about their leaders in any given sphere of life, we would not be surprised to record that everyone has done this at one time or the other. Now the question is have we taken out time to look at the essential ingredient needed to guide leadership? Many have done this and have come to the conclusion that leaders must be people of integrity, must be people of trustworthy repute, good charisma, carriage, and even a great sense of humor. I have taken a few moments and instances overtime to research the virtue needed to effectively lead people, guess what it is… I know you can do that quite easily from the title. You were right; LOVE.
Let’s define love in a few words. This word that seems so simple is perhaps the most complicated one in the vocabulary of man. It has been given various definitions, ranging from a deep and intense feeling, to an attachment to something. Love is great interest and pleasure in something. A very important man of good repute once defined love as a series of acts and actions which engender growth and inspire both the loved and the beloved. These definitions are all pointers to the fact that love is both a noun and a verb. It actually requires and influences actions between two or more parties. Now let’s clarify the concept of leadership.
Leadership has been defined as the act of guiding or directing a group. It could also refer to a point in time when a person holds the position of a leader. Both definitions suggest two parties, namely, the leader and the led.
Having said all these, what connection does love have with leadership? Is there any difference between leading and ruling? A great difference exits between being ruled and being led. Being led suggests the presence of someone who is there to serve as a guide. There is a great deal of need for the ingredient of love in every given relationship; be it between a parent and a child, between siblings, the government and the citizens, or even the cleric and the congregants. The presence of love and affection would make every leader act differently towards followers. The presence of love or the absence of it is communicated through speech and mannerisms. This is the right place to state that what you say is not as important as how you say it. All leaders ought to take note of this. By all leaders, I actually mean everyone reading this for we definitely have found and would still find ourselves in different positions of leadership.
Again, so many arguments have ensued stating that people tend not to listen until they are handled with a measure of strictness. While this is true in some ways, it also has been abused by a lot of people who feel that people can only listen and take instructions when they are yelled at. Suffice it to say here that people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. In the words of Stephen Covey in his work ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, “private victories precede public victories”, try to lead yourself first as a step towards leading others because it starts with you. In order not to digress from our subject matter, let’s see the benefits of adding the ingredient of love to leadership.
A leader who exemplifies undiluted love would definitely receive bountiful love, respect, and co-operation in the course of leading. Everybody on a team wants to feel accepted and appreciated, and any team leader who adequately gives these is one who would ever be loved in return. Some may contest this fact but we must remember here that everyone has a conscience which a group of people may refer to as that deep ‘within’. We actually all know what we ought to do even if we don’t all adhere to the directions.
Love is the necessary attribute needed for dynamic and revolutionary leadership. It is the difference required; it is the freshness that we need to move from where we are at the moment to where we ought to be.