If there’s something I learned about leadership, is that its no bed of roses that you can lay on and enjoy privilege on. It is an ugly, unpleasant monster you have to manage against expectations, your own beliefs and at times your own sanity.
In my short life, I have learned of the great people that inspired movements, steered change and brought hope to millions. None of it would be possible, however, if they did not have followers.
Many have argued that leaders are born, some that they’re made after their talent is honed and shaped by education. I am yet to grapple with a certain, unconditional definition – but as in academic theory, most things can be both proven and compromised.
From my own experiences, I have learned that leadership is really testing. It tests your patience, your time, your decisions and certainly your own paradigms. It is so selfless, that you end up confused between the thoughts your mind always constructed and the history of your actions in moments of challenge.
I have observed how important it is for others to have invested in you, in an electoral process or with consenting who you are as a person and what you can do. I have also observed that leadership is not picky, there are no preferences to who you can represent, no cemented controls to who you can lead and certainly no set strategy that can work in every context.
Thus, I have come to understand leadership as an innate ability for getting people to support your ideals, not necessarily you as an individual, but your story, your reason for accepting the call to lead. I have also come to learn that the work is mostly done by those around you. Not to discredit many past leaders, but the reality in effort, energy and passion is derived from the very people that put faith in your ideals as a leader.
It is no glory or status badge when you’re a natural leader, you are not imposed on by bureaucracy or employment. You are forced to put in the work just as hard as the many others to lead by example, just as the great battles we see televised today in the likes of Troy, Alexander and 300.
The principle of being one with your people, is no great feat. It is a challenge to understand those you never did, a challenge to rope in those who don’t share your own paradigms, it is a task to form a bigger picture and a lifetime of learning how to be a better human being.
There are many aspects that can shape the concept of leadership, in theory, application or any of its types, but the one important principle is keeping those around you connected to the ideal. For there is no credibility to your efforts, if there is not understanding of the movement/cause/ideals.