Leading Without Consent
I agree with one of my most respected mentors, David Oyedepo, when he defines leadership as taking the lead to meet the need of the people. I strongly feel that leadership entails taking the lead without consent. Human beings if left alone are unwilling to take the initiative to better their existence.
Leadership without consent is the only way we can enjoy global revolution. The price to be paid by those who lead without consent is very high. Many times, it carries a loss of life price tag. The fact remains that any change that is imposed on the people is bound to be resisted by them even though it is for their betterment.
I am forced to recall an incident that happened a while ago on a bus. A couple of my colleagues and I boarded an Air conditioned bus headed towards the Barnagattar Biological National Park to spend some time with the animals as a way of relaxing after a long week of work. As we embarked on our almost one and half hour journey towards the zoo, the bus became very uncomfortable as the air conditioning system of the bus failed to function. As people began to grumble and complain among themselves, I decided to take a leadership initiative by approaching the conductor and requesting that he either refunds our money or that he puts us on another bus with a functional air conditioning system. Convinced that I had the support and consent of everyone on the bus, I marched forward courageously to make the demand on behalf of everyone.
To my greatest surprise, this battle that I had initially thought I would fight with the support of the entire bus crew turned out to be a lonely fight as everyone ignored me and instead focused on looking for ways of coping with their discomfort.
At that point, I realized that for some weird reason, people preferred to remain within the confines of their status quo even if it proved to be inconvenient for them. They would rather complain and grumble about slavery than do something to change their situation. Why do we complain about how we hate our jobs, but refuse to quit and move on to what we want? Why do we moan about being in sour abusive relationships but are not willing to put an end to it?
Often, those who assume the responsibility of being saviors to these people are persecuted by the same people they want to save. Mahatma Gandhi fought for the emancipation of India, but was killed by a fellow Indian.
Why is humanity fond of biting the hand that attempt to feed it? Why do we poke the very eyes that attempt to lead us through blindness? Why do we, with the teeth of our resistance, bite and sore the very nipples that attempt to breastfeed us with change?
The fear of the unknown is the reason why people are reluctant to embark on a departure from realism to idealism, from what exists to what they desire. People are afraid to risk what they have regardless of the damage it causes for what they deserve. A lot of people have refused to break up with mediocrity because they fear uncertainty.
True leadership is unsolicited. A true leader steps out of a pool of sheep and unsolicitedly wears the leadership crown of the lion. True leaders don't wait to be voted into office before they effect change.
A Ghanaian proverb puts it this way, An army of sheep led by a lion will defeat an army of lion led by a sheep.