Paradoxical Leadership

In the global village where free will offer – supposedly – the most conducive atmosphere for innovation and trans-generational advancements, the place of “commandments” cannot be trivialized. We must be guided by some forms of principles, rules, tenets or laws to create enabling environment for mutual understanding and ‘breed’ peaceful co-existence. There has to be checks and balances to avoid free-for-all descent to chaotic disorder. In addition, leaders must relate with their associates empathetically. This is where J.C Maxwell’s recommendation in his book titled “Relationship 101 – what every leader needs to know” finds relevance. In 1968, Kent Keith penned “Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership” which J.C Maxwell re-echoed as follows:

1. People are often illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered – love them anyway

2. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives – do good anyway

3. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies – succeed anyway

4. The good you do today will perhaps be forgotten tomorrow – do good anyway

5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable – be honest and frank anyway

6. The biggest man with the biggest ideas may be shot down by the smallest man with the smallest mind – think big anyway

7. People favour underdogs but follow only hot dogs – fight for a few underdogs anyway

8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight – build anyway

9. People really need help but may attack you if you help them – help them anyway

10. Give the world the best that you have and you will get kicked in the teeth – give the world the best you have anyway

On the first day of this month, Nigeria celebrated her 61st independence anniversary. To some, she remain a “laboratory of potential greatness” and to some others she’s “struggling to breath” in critical realms of life. Optimistic perspective will see the cup as half-full rather than half-empty. I am a patriot hence will always see through the optimistic lens. I agree with the notion that forthright leadership at all levels will position the nation in her rightful place in the comity of nations. This is true of any nation that desire sustainable progress. It also holds true at individual or corporate level. The world will be a better place if all and sundry would imbibe the culture of valuing one another’s differences whilst leveraging on similarities towards common purpose(s). Being at “cross-purposes” operationally is the bane of elegant progress. Perhaps it is high time we mandated “Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership” for all leaders (or aspiring) at all levels.

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