Hello <<First Name>>,
It's another week to share with you. This year is moving really fast and we are already in the middle of the second quarter. How are you doing with your goals for the year? If it looks like you are lagging behind, today is a good day to take another look and make some changes.
I'm still reading the book ‘Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow’ by Yuval Noah Harari. I read a quote from the book which got me thinking:
"When Otto von Bismarck pioneered state pensions and social security in late nineteenth-century Germany, his chief aim was to ensure the loyalty of the citizens rather than to increase their well-being."
So, I have been thinking...As a leader, what is the propelling force that moves one to take action? Even if an action is good, the motive can make it "bad." So, we need to mind our motives. For example, I have faced criticism from both friends and members of the opposition. And from their criticism I have learned two things:
1. When a friend criticises your actions, their motives are mostly pure. It could be because they don't have all the details and they are worried about how your actions will look or how the public will perceive them.
2. When the opposition criticises your actions, their motives are mostly not for your good. They are trying to make you look bad and make themselves look good. But this is where a leader needs to be very careful. You should not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Let me further illustrate point number 2. On the night that Jesus died, while members of the Sanhedrin were plotting the best way to have him killed, Gamaliel, one of their leaders, made a statement. He said, "It is better for the one man to die than for the whole nation to perish." He was speaking about sacrificing Jesus to save their city. Unwittingly, he was confirming the real reason Jesus had come down to the earth.
So, sometimes enemies say things thinking that they are harming you but they are actually helping you to achieve your broader aims. A good leader is able to sieve through such criticism and take out viable opinions that will help them improve and deliver better governance.
Let’s go back to the question, what should motivate a real leader to action? The answer: A good leader's focus should be on doing things that are in the followers' best interests. What works for their well-being? As can be seen from Otto von Bismarck's example, there is an intersection between what works in the citizen's best interests and what ensuring the loyalty of citizens requires.
Despite this intersection, it is important to always make the former a priority. A leader who is driven simply by ensuring the loyalty of the citizens will be thinking more selfishly. For example, keeping the citizen's uninformed and uneducated so that they do not have the power to challenge the leader’s actions. Or leaving the economy on a free-fall so that people are so poor that they will gladly take whatever falls from the table of the leader. This is not the type of country we want to build. It is certainly not the type of leadership the next generation should aspire to.
So, as we head towards 2023 and are thinking of the direction we want Nigeria to go, we should carefully consider the leaders we choose. What have their track records shown? Are they really putting the best interests of the people in focus or do they belong to the breed of politicians who use poverty as a tool of oppression? What people-centred policies are they pushing at the national, state or local government levels? Are they seeking new ways of doing things or trying to entrench old methods that serve their own interests?
It is time to think and rethink our criteria for choosing leaders.
Stay safe and I'll talk to you again soon.