July 13, 2020

LEADERSHIP, the what and how of it?

Prof Halimu Shauri of Pwani University sharing a hearty laugh with Huria executive director Yusuf Lule Mwatsefu

BY Prof. Dr. Halimu Shauri

Human beings have needs, wants and aspirations. Accordingly, there is need for them to set goals to reach this trio: needs, wants and aspirations.

At the center of the trio, is leadership. Which mobilizes all the resources, human, physical and financials towards achieving the trio for human survival and comfortable living? 

The question of leadership has been discussed for decades. It is now well known all over the world what leadership is? In sum, leadership is simply “INFLUENCE”.

This is the ability of X to rally others into a common course towards a vision. In most cases, the leader knows the vision and those led or to be led just get involved in the course, which is the mission towards the vision.

A good leader, student, MCA, MP, Senator, Governor, Women Rep or President must first and foremost be “VISIONARY”. The question is does your leader or choice of a leader have a vision? 

If the answer is yes, the second thing you look for is “INFLUENCE”. Is your leader or choice of a leader influential?   If the answer is still yes, then you have to measure the how of their influence. I know you are wondering how do you know the how of the influence of your leader or choice of a leader!

You can know the how of influence if you unpack the wisdom in the word INFLUENCE. How? I can simply hear you asking! By understanding what each letter of the definition of what is leadership, which is INFLUENCE, stands for.

In this regard, the how of leadership influence is easily captured by looking at your leader or choice of your leader in the following respects:

I = Integrity

N =Naturing others

F = Faithful

L = Listener

U = Understanding

E = Emotional Intelligent

N = Networks

C = Communicator

E = Exemplary

Having looked at these components myself, I have been able to know in many instances who is a leader and who is not.

It is my hope that this short article will inspire students in our universities, including Pwani University, where I know the race for seats in the student union is on and hot, helps them choose leaders on these defined criteria and not based on other considerations such as ethnicity, nepotism, party affiliation etc.

Finally, we should elect leaders who are visionary of our needs, wants and aspirations as students, Kenyans, Africans or citizens of the world. Great leadership is legacy oriented and transcends parochial considerations. That has been my conviction and position. We thus have the choice of making our institutions and countries better by exercising good judgment in electing great men and women to public office who are 1: VISIONARY and 2: have INFLUENCE.

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