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Kagisho Nkadimeng
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The science of leadership

07 February 2014, 18:00  - Kagisho Nkadimeng
From as long as men have walked the earth, there has always been a select few individuals who dictate how things should be done. Then from that the masses will follow those ‘rules’. And that dependency on others to make decisions has, perhaps created the need for leaders. It has happened through a process of natural selection.

In reality we should all be equal but this state where the masses follow certain ideals propels the initiators of those ideals into a level of superiority, either directly or indirectly. The theory with being lead is very fascinating. Yes there is a need for leaders but this tends to create a vacuum of dependency because people will always rely on others to make the critical decisions.

Those who lead will always feel as though they are superior beings and those who are lead will always feel as though they are the inferior beings. It would be very unreasonable to say that we can operate and live without someone showing us the way.  But it is also impractical to suggest that we cannot think on our own and be leaders.

Twenty first century leadership has traveled light years ahead from the previous two centuries of the 19th and 20th. Back then people had a ‘God given right to lead’. Basically what they said stood without contention as they were the ‘ultimate beings of perfection’, which in my view is a sign of bad leadership. Leaders should never be beyond reproach.

Looking back in history, I find it very absurd that thousands of men have carried swords and guns ravaging each other on battlefields fighting for ideas and ideals they will never live to see, while their ‘leaders’ are sipping on the finest French  champagne and Scotch whisky celebrating ‘victory’.

What victory is there when thousands of innocent human beings have perished? Remarkably, even today men still go to war just to prove their point of view and strength.

Without a doubt we need to be lead. Not because we are inferior. Not because we are inadequate to think on our own, but because if there is no clear direction things will just be chaotic. We have to first lead in the micro environment of our lives before we can go lead a country, an organisation or even other people.

People talk of this lack of leadership in government and the private sector. But I think the real question is ‘’what is true leadership’’? Who in society exemplifies those certain type of leadership style that is required?

Perhaps the fact that when things go wrong we are quick to blame someone shows us that we are afraid of taking responsibility. What if those ideal leaders that we desperately seek to lead are actually ourselves? Who says we are so inferior that we cannot be leaders?

The dynamics of the 21st century leadership have changed for the better. No one was born a leader. Leadership is an acquired trait that takes time to mature. There is no leader without followers and there are no followers without a leader. Good followers become great leaders and great leaders have good followers.
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