“…I wanted to be the guy who lead us to championships. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that.”
“The responsibility of being the best player in the world and leading a team is something that’s not meant for many people…”
“Sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world…”
“How do I get the best out of this group, the success they had last year [while] helping them realize what it takes to win a championship?”
Before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season, the Boston Celtics were tipped to come out of the Eastern Conference as champions; they had a talented superstar in Kyrie Irving, All Stars in Horford and Hayward, a promising young nucleus of Brown and Tatum. As good as they were on paper, that gelling of the team hasn’t translated into hardwood court success. The spotlight has been on them for sometime because they have been struggling terribly and then their talented superstar, who is also the leader, Kyrie Irving took to the mic and uttered these words. He is stressing what is known as the burden of leadership
Today, we want to focus on the enormity of leadership at hand. Before then, let us define leadership? I have read many books on leadership and everyone comes up with his/her unique take on that, but John Maxwell’s definition rings true and clear to my heart: “Leadership is influence”. It is said that the average person will unintentionally influence 10,000 people in their lifetime- let that sink in; 10,000 people! It means all of us are leaders then, because we all have some capacity to produce an effect on the actions, behaviors, opinions etc of another or others.
The question then is, why do so many people fail to answer to the call of leadership? Because among many of the reasons, it is burdensome. In my junior high school days, my teacher almost submitted my name for the candidacy of those vying for the Head Boy position. I swore that I will not do it, threatened all my friends who nearly put my teacher up to this, then my teacher just withdrew my name. My friends also got worried because I was very brutal in my threats. Then in my senior high school days, that problem came up again: those who want to be Head Boy. This was a different school and this time my threats were not as successful back then. Long story short; I became the Deputy Head Boy. Why did I refuse on almost two occasions? Personally, this was taking me way beyond my comfort zone of blending in and been among the pack by leading which I only saw as stressful
Was I right in regards to the stress of it? Yes, very much so! Then, why write about this today? I personally believe there is a level of impact we can all attain that will not happen easily till we accept the role of leadership in whatever sphere we might be in. Strongly believe in that.
Over the years, we have some myths concerning leadership which is gaining grounds as to why it is not for everybody. Since leadership is influence, it is also safe to say, what it is not: bossing, dominating, ruling with an iron fist or having an entitled mindset. I have seen some of these images associated with leadership and I know you have too, but best believe, it is no where near leadership as Earth is no where near Mars! Please let us consider a few of the myths
Myth 1: “I can’t do it!”
Probably the most common excuse because I have said these words a lot myself. I remember leaving the church I started and pastored to emigrate to start another church where I currently pastor. Had to have a talk with the most loyal adjunct of our church and told her, she was the one to take over. She almost collapsed and told me, “I can’t do it!”. Well, I looked at her quietly and said she has proven to me with this response that she will make a great leader. She has done very well so far and made all of us proud. Honestly, I would have been worried if she thought it was a cake walk and “easy peasy”. The reality is it is not! Howbeit, don’t let that excuse cripple and paralyze you to the point of not responding to the call. If you are capable of influencing, then you truly qualify. Perhaps, it is time you reconsider turning down that supervisory role for the 18th time
Myth 2: it is only the gifted that are called
That is far from the truth. I must admit some of the worst leaders I have personally seen were talented and gifted. Gifted doesn’t necessarily translate into leadership. In soccer, the leaders of the teams are called captains. I love soccer and an avid fan. In my honest opinion, I have never seen a soccer captain like Akwasi Appiah yet. I will compare him to the Maradonas, the Beckenbauers, the Baresis, the Maldinis and the Guardiolas of the world, to mention a few, in terms of leadership. He lead by example, attitude and a sense of duty. Wasn’t the most talented footballer but a great defender in his own right. A time came, he was stripped off the captain’s armband to the most talented footballer in the group and that was the beginning of many troubles: internal wrangling and one turmoil after the other in Ghana’s National Soccer Team, the Black Stars. That wave of footballers have all retired but it still baffles me to this day that they never qualified for the FIFA World Cup or even won the AFCON (African Cup of Nations). To me, they were the most talented assembly of stars. The following teams after them have done better and made the country proud. My point is talent is not equal to leadership
Myth 3: a few are called
There is room for everyone at the top regardless of race or sex. You may not have a title or position but you can be a functional leader by how you carry yourself. It always starts with you! You can become indispensable to your team by your actions. Be one that adds value- that is a leader.
It is burdensome because you cannot live like everybody else but truly worth it when you are touching people’s lives. I am grateful to God to be a leader in my own sphere
I wrote this topic because one of the readers in our community suggested it. If you have a topic that you feel I should write on, let me know
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Till I come your way again…
Peace & Love