The Idealist View Against the Realist
Over the years, the true meaning of who a leader is (realist view) or should be (idealist view), or what leadership means is now a matter of contest among perspectives.
Each perspective dangles like a pendulum against the other–all for either a selfish reason or for a selfless one. More distinctive to note however is that, since no world can truly survive on selfishness without painting her own greedy, savage, uncaring and chaotic picture, the definition of ‘leader’ and ‘leadership’ from a selfless point of view, perspective, or thought may be found to be socially preferable.
Now, the ideal question of who a leader is, or what leadership means is a taunting challenge against the leadership that now pervades our reality.
It is indeed a sad feel, to bear the burden of such consciousness that what ought not to have qualified as leaders are now constantly being, and of course being built most directly and indirectly without a tinge of shame in those who exemplify the travesty.
It is no more pretense, across all human affairs, to note that there is no shame at all about the disreputable results this reality produces!!!
What then is leadership according to the idealist?
Leadership, in the words of Mwai Kibaki-a reputable Kenyan politician, ‘is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed.’ Or to further establish the argument of this selfless perspective, it also, to Sheryl Sanberg, ‘is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.’
Yet, it is inscrutable how a considerable size of popular acceptance finds space for the kind of ‘leadership’ that is defined only by benefits for the one person who in turn comfortably dreams and labels him- or herself ‘a leader’ over those whom he or she regards as not worthy of benefits other than work and blame!
Nelson Mandela rightly puts this against the blame business of the new generation of rogues who now flood themselves as leaders that ‘it is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur.
You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.’ Leaders and leadership are definitions of strength, rugged determination, fortitude, kindness that is not weakness, funniness that is not folly, sacrifice and hope; it is not witty idleness, whimsicality or comfort that seeks to enslave for personal gain and pride. It is not a detriment to humanity, rather the uplift of it.
Therefore, for the sake of the future in liberating today from the tethers of its selfishness, we must agree with Bill Gates who predicts that ‘as we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others’ remarkably, not inconspicuously.
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