I’ve been privileged to attend a whole lot of leadership seminars, listened to many “leadership experts” and read many leadership books and articles but One big flaw I’ve noticed in many of these leadership trainings and books is that they prepare people for the number 1 position – Number 1 position meaning the head. We have even spiritualized this belief with the “I shall be the head and not the tail prayer” which in turn means that we are only meant for the topmost position and nothing else.
This, in itself is not particularly wrong. I make such declarations too. It’s only that it creates a feeling in the hearts of people that true fulfillment in any institution lies only in the topmost position. We equally need to prepare people for effectiveness and outstanding leadership in whatever position they carry in their organizations. It’s rare to hear people talk about serving as effective assistants and subordinates.
The result of this has been tragic. Hence, we have seen very effective managers, Presidents of Institutions, and CEOs of corporations who lack the basic rudiments of leadership because they had their eyes on was the “juicy” position of the head or very excellent management at the head flawed by a poor management by the number 2, 3, and 4s.
This would translate into increased work load for the positional leader which can in turn breed frustration.
In my little life, I’ve had a fair share of both topmost leadership and leadership as the number 2 man. One of the books that effectively led me through a journey of complete mindset change is 360 degree leader by John Maxwell. I had mentors too who made themselves available to help me through.
Is leading as a number 2 easy? No it isn’t. It never is. But the overall effect of a number
2 man taking responsibilities and playing his/her role most effectively is overwhelming.
One thing I’ve never stopped to hear is “Your Own is too much” and at many times, I have been assumed to be “recognition – hungry”. To be honest, some of the time, in a bid to lower to pressure from externals, I took the chill pill and reduced the amount of efforts I was giving to my superiors and I bet you, I paid dearly for it. Not in my pay exactly but I saw somethings we came up with crumble.
Funny enough, the assumed recognition thing is just a wrong assumption. All credits go to the superior as expected because no leader will give much credits to the subordinate over the boss.
In all, one major lesson I’ve learnt from the Bible is that the only one who can effectively reward us for all the hard work we do as workers is God himself [this doesn’t in any way mean that we aren’t entitled to our cash pay].
In fact, most times if we knew the importance of being an effective number 2, we would stop fighting over being number 1 and effectively manage our stand at the different doors to which we have been assigned.
Moreover, the superiors themselves need to value the importance of an effective number two and stop treating them like they’re worthless. It doesn’t all happen in a day but the process begins on the day you take a resolve to respect the position you are in any Institution. Value it with your life and do all you can to be the best person that would occupy that position. Value and provide mentoring for others who seem to look up to you. Then, the real leadership unleashes itself & the sky would just be the beginning for such an institution.
The Author of this piece is BOLU AKINDELE