Monday 19 October 2020

Leadership is Multidirectional

Balanced Leader
Our leadership calling is multidirectional. It is upwards - leading those above us. It is inwards - leading our own very self. It is lateral - leading those around us (peers, etc.) we have no authority over. It is downwards - leading those below us, we have authority over or who look up to us in one form or the other. 

We are responsible for every one of these, and we are only truly leaders when we function in ALL, without exceptions successfully. 

Lead Inward (Self):

The first of these is the leading inwards. Until we are truly able to conquer ourselves, we cannot lead in any other direction. So, the self is the first enemy that needs to be taken captive. Until you conquer self, you have no right, nor are you empowered and or activated to lead in any other direction. 

"As a leader, the most important earthly relationship you can cultivate is your relationship with yourself." (Ken Blanchard). "To become a leader, then, you must become yourself, become the maker of your own life." (Warren G. Bennis) "Trapped in any follower is a hidden leader." (Dr. Myles Munroe)

Lead Upward:

After self, the next direction of leadership is, leading up, in order of priority, efficacy, and power. Other than yourself, the next greatest force that has the potency of holding your life captive are the authority figures you submit your life to. Note, I said that "you submit." No one can truly have authority over you until you submit to such a person or system.

That is why we are each inexcusable. We are responsible for who or what we submit our dear life to. We are responsible for that which we allow to influence us, be it alcohol, drugs, peer pressure, religion, etc. We shall give account for the same both in this life and that which is to come.

Never ever lose track of that truth. We are each inexcusable. We've got all the power to deliver ourselves. We have options, irrespective of what the scenario might be. I love the way Viktor Emil Frankl, Holocaust survivor, Austrian neurologist, and psychiatrist, puts it. He says,

“The last of the human freedoms: to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you become the plaything to circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity...”

Lead Laterally:

Again to re-emphasize, you are inexcusable. None of us is. The first leadership that determines your destiny is inward. The second is upwards. And the third is lateral, the way you lead your peers, those who have no title or authority over you. 

We are each the average of the five (5) closest persons to us. We are each spiritual beings. So, every interaction is spiritual intercourse. There is a mingling of spirits, each spirit trying to gain ascendancy, and all together finding some average. There are no idle interactions. Every communication corrupts.

Again, we are each responsible for the people we allow into our circle and inner circle. We each determine the quantum of time we choose to spend with each person or group of people. We are responsible for the cause, the sowing. That we can determine. That is our way of choosing the effect and the reaping.

So, like Jim Rohn would say, maturity is taking and accepting the effect and or reaping (harvest) like a man or woman, knowing no one else is to be blamed, but yours truly. It is not your in-laws, not anyone in your village. It is not a generational curse nor the old woman you forgot to greet.

Lead Downwards:

The last determinant of your destiny is your downward leadership. Hopefully, if you have the first three right, it will be seen in this fourth one and cause you to excel. If you lead well inwardly, it sets you up for victory in leading upwards.

If you lead successfully inwardly and upwardly, they set you up for victory in leading laterally. If you lead successfully, inwardly, upwardly, and laterally, they set you up for successfully leading downwards. Most often than not, a failure in downward leading can be traced to one or more failures in the other three.

"The level of your authority is not based on who is under you. It is based on who is over you." (John Gray) Dee Hock puts it this way, "If you look to lead, invest at least 40% of your time managing yourself - your ethics, character, principles, purpose, motivation, and conduct. Invest at least 30% managing those with authority over you, and 15% managing your peers." 

Leading downwardly also affects our destiny, for the way we relate with our followers has an equal and opposite influence on our own life. Every leadership direction we engage with is a spiritual interaction, and spirits have a way of looking for common frequencies for communication and or flow.

Every single communication corrupts or makes better. It is up to each of us to determine what we want to get from each and engage appropriately.

© 2020 Akin Akinbodunse

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