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No one rules forever on the throne of life. This is a reality that many leaders tend to ignore, possibly because of the excitement that comes with high office. The moment a leader occupies a seat, in whatever capacity, the next thing to happen is departure from the seat. It doesn’t matter how long it takes whilst someone is leading within a particular space, the day of departure will come. Sensitive and responsible leaders plan for their exit through a concerted effort of developing upcoming talent. Because the inevitable is guaranteed, it is prudent to equip those who will run with the ball after the leader’s light has dimmed from the scene. It doesn’t matter how brightly a flower shines in its season, a time comes when the glitter ceases.
Leadership is not about the number of loyal followers than one has as in the leaders who are developed to carry on with the work when the leader is gone. What help is it to have a thousand followers who are not empowered to do what is supposed to be done? The best that a leader can do is to create within the establishment a pool of upcoming leaders who can function in the same or better capacity as the one who presently occupies the seat of power. After all, leadership is not occupancy of a Seat of Power as it is the empowerment of other Leaders to accomplish a great feat for the organization and civilization.
Leadership success without a successor is failure. Great works have crumbled in days and years gone past because the front man thought they knew all and no one was more capable than them; only to have the supposedly great work crumble like a deck of cards. As if this is not enough, there are many supposedly great men and women who still assume and operate as though they will live forever. It is a sign of selfishness on the part of the leader to think that there is no one else better than them. They fail to appreciate that those who come later possess the greatest opportunity of learning from those who would have gone ahead of them. What takes a leader ten years to master and perfect, the one who comes after can take less than a year. It is satisfying for the leader to contribute to the learning of those who are coming up.
The best contribution that any leader can make to posterity is to inspire, encourage and empower others for the assignment before them. We are all going to live the rest of our lives in the future, making is logical to invest in that future. Even if the leader will not be there in the long, the investment made in others will stand as testimony of the value one would have added to the good of civilization. Lasting impact doesn’t constitute in the possessions that one leaves behind but in the quality of people who are equipped to add even more value. The positive effect created through people development is immeasurable.
Build the people around you for the sake of tomorrow. The people you help today become your soldiers in the battle of life tomorrow. To invest in properties is good but to invest in people is far better. People will defend, stand by you & honour you when they realize that you value them. Leadership development is not a once off event that a leader considers when they think their date of departure is nigh. It is a lifelong commitment that is fixated upon the thinking that learning should never cease as long as one is alive. As the leader is running their race and learning, they should likewise encourage others and create opportunities for them to learn.
In institution, the general thinking is that developing talent constitute in sending members of staff to expensive courses. This is seen as a huge expense which impacts negatively on the bottomline. The truth of the matter however is that real learning is lifelong and continuous. Creation of the ideal environment for learning is more valuable than the paper qualifications that one might acquire. In as much as the papers are important, they tend to be overvalued in certain circles. This explains why people go out of their way to obtain the paper at the expense of the knowledge depicted by such a paper. Many potential leaders end up with loads of papers but being very ignorant to function in any leadership capacity. The world’s institutions require leaders who have an insatiable appetite for information which addresses the needs of the hour. Both the present leaders and the upcoming have a role to play in creating the ideal world where everyone can enjoy in the space that has been created for all.

Noah Mangwarara is a Leadership Coach; Strategy & Conference Facilitator; Motivational Speaker; Team Biuilding & Executive Coach with footprints of positive impact across the continent.

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