Too many problems, few leaders
The writer
Featured

Too many problems, few leaders

There are problems everywhere. Organisations are struggling with many stressed employees who are unengaged while customers receive poor services. 

Advertisement

Societies are grappling with the challenges of unemployment, persistent income and gender inequality, disparities in access to educational opportunities, loneliness and rising mental health issues, among many others. 

Families are struggling to stay together and parent the next generation.

At the recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Argentina and France fielded almost the same team they used in the last World Cup, which France won. In 2022, Argentina recovered from the challenge that had plagued them for about three tournaments. 

They had always relied on the superman, Lionel Messi, to win the Cup. 

France and Argentina played in an enthralling final. Mbappe, the star player and hero from the previous World Cup, performed beyond every expectation by scoring an unprecedented three goals in the Final. 

Unfortunately, Mbappe was still on the losing side. 

The story is a painful reminder that the significant problems we face today cannot solved by a genius supported by a thousand helpers. 

The difference in the Argentinian team is that many players had decided to lead rather than rely on a superman, Messi. Many leaders wanted it more beyond the game. 

Whether in the public or private sector, we have gone beyond a scenario where one leader makes all the difference. 

The days of the heroic leader who single-handedly transforms organisations and nations are fading away.

Today’s complex challenges require many leaders to work collaboratively to make a remarkable difference in our society.  

Despite the obvious challenges we face today, many leaders are not accepting the responsibility to lead because they believe they do not know enough and do not have the experience or the resources.

These are excuses and not barriers standing in the way of effective leadership.   

No individual can claim to know it all. However, one cannot use lack of knowledge as an excuse for not leading. 

We knew very little before we went to the moon. Now, we understand a virus makes us sick. A couple of decades ago, the knowledge of the world existed in physical spaces for those with special access. 

Today, all information is readily available on our smartphones and in the minds of those closest to us. 

In an attempt to solve the problems of the day, no individual suffers from a lack of knowledge. 

With knowledge universally available through Google and artificial Intelligence tools like ChatGPT that can provide us with insights and recommendations at the press of a button, the only thing a leader does not know is the future. What leaders do then is to take actions that create the future we desire.  

Can lack of experience be the reason for having too few leaders? Certainly not. Every experience matters, and leaders must leverage their experiences to tackle the problems societies face. 

Advertisement

Every leader has enough experience from previous leadership journeys to begin the next step. Going through an experience does not equate to learning. 

Reflecting on the experience leads to insights leaders leverage to progress to the next leg of their journey. 

In that regard, every leader has the experience required to lead. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, recounts how the experience and skills she deployed to save her brother when she was a pre-teen helps her in boardrooms today. 

Are leaders stepping away from the responsibility of leading because they do not have the resources? The challenge of progress has nothing to do with resource scarcity. 

Advertisement

It has everything to do with resourcefulness and resilience. Our resources will always be inadequate compared to the scale of challenges we are dealing with. 

Hence, every leader must start with the resources available today while exploring for more. In most cases, waiting to acquire more resources before starting makes the challenges compound. 

How do you lead when you don’t have enough?

A couple of months ago, I encouraged a student to set up a peer mentoring group at one of the public universities. 

The lack of peer mentoring opportunities is one of the many problems this university is grappling with. 

Advertisement

Without any knowledge, experience in setting up peer-mentoring programs at a university, and resources, this individual was able to initiate the project. 

Students have signed up to receive mentoring from peer mentors she has recruited and trained to offer peer mentoring. 

She found a reason to care beyond her personal needs, eliminated the familiar excuses and made change happen when she had no knowledge, experience or resources. 

Too many leaders are waiting to have their ducks in a row before they take the first step. The time will never be right. No one can assure you that you will not fail. 

Instead of looking for the knowledge to lead, learn to lead with courage to move beyond the expectations and rhetoric of the community you have been part of for a long time. 

Replace experience with the humility to learn and explore new paths where your project may lead. 

Cultivate resilience and resourcefulness as a critical resource for your leadership journey rather than relying on a budget. 

Being ready to lead and leading well requires that leaders see beyond leadership as an opportunity to solve personal problems and care enough to start. 

It has nothing to do with the level of knowledge, depth of experience or size of resources. Plato reminds us, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” 

Begin to take action on the challenges we face today. There are too many of them, and we need many leaders to step up and take responsibility. 

Take the lead. Heaven is waiting to help you. W. H. Murray encourages every leader with these words, “The moment one commits oneself, then providence moves too. 

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. Unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.” Leadership requires your commitment. You are one of many leaders we need today.

Be of good cheer!

The writer is a Leadership Development Facilitator, Executive Coach and Strategy Consultant, Founder of the CEO Accelerator Program (https://ceoacceleratorprogram.org) and Chief Learning Strategist at TEMPLE Advisory (www.thelearningtemple.com). 

The mission of The Leadership Project is to harvest highly effective leadership practices and share them in a manner that other leaders can easily incorporate into their leadership practice. 

If you have an idea or leadership practice to share, kindly write to [email protected]. Until you read from us again, keep leading.... from leader to leader, one practice at a time.

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...

0
Shares