They say great leaders relish tough times because they know it is one of the best times for their leadership to shine through. It is also a time that people need strong leaders to direct the ship in turbulent times. In many cases, no matter what happens, a leader will always be held responsible – whether it is a positive outcome or negative outcome, they are not immune to judgment of any kind.
While leaders are generally supposed to lead their people, they also have an added responsibility of having to face any issue head-on. As the first citizen of an organisation, group or country, a leader is protected but also the most vulnerable member of the team.
When times get rough, a leader cannot hide behind their team; they cannot hide because of the rough times. That is when they are most needed by those that look up to them. It is in times like this that they will be tested and have to prove their leadership skills.
Apart from having to lead people and take on tasks as they come, leaders should always keep in mind that they are leading and working with people – humans who have needs wants and feels like everyone else. That should always make their jobs special and easier in many cases – even though it is generally accepted that working with people is difficult. Most of the greatest leaders know that it is not the easiest but it’s very doable and essential. The people serve you just as much as you serve them; it is a reciprocal relationship that should never be allowed to become too one-sided. As a leader, you should listen to your people well enough to understand them and be equally able to effectively communicate your desired messages to them. It doesn’t matter who or where you are leading from; it is your responsibility as a leader to establish and maintain that communication channel.
As a leader, you owe it to yourself and everybody around you to know yourself; you have to know when to get in – and more importantly, when to get out – whether it is in conversations, protests and strikes, war, markets or positions. The youth have seen more than enough of leaders that have overstayed their tenures to their detrimental. You do not have to be told to go in or out; you have to know – it is your job.
Leaders will always be vital to a healthy society, to lead it, guide it and protect it; they just have to know their responsibilities.
- Olavi Popyeinawa