“There are differences between leadership and rulership. Here are seven characteristics:
(1) Ownership: a ruler owns the people as their possession or property; a leader drives the people forward as a guide (by example).
(2) Directives: a ruler rules by commands; a leader by vision.
(3) Choice: people usually choose their leader; a ruler is imposed upon the people.
(4) Power: a leader leads by consultation; a ruler by control or dictation or arbitrarily.
(5) Influence: both leaders and rulers are influencers except a leader exercises willing influence, a ruler deterministic influence.
(6)Freedom: under a leader, people have rights and liberties and are literally free to exercise their rights and freedoms without fear of reprisal; under a ruler, only the will of the ruler prevails. And
(7)Distinction: the distinction between leadership-oriented permutations and ruler-oriented ones may not always be stated but may be clearly observable. Thus, one may not be called a ruler but exhibits all of or a good number of the characteristics of a ruler. Although they may be a leader in form, they may be everything a ruler in function, and vice-versa!”
On a goal v. a plan
“A leader must have a GOAL, and a PLAN to achieve it. Put simply, a goal is where you want to end up, and a plan is a map of reaching there. A goal is synonymous to a vision, and should be a translation of the leader’s ideas into signposts with tangible ways of measuring progress. An effective goal must provide specific points of reference and must take into consideration three factors (a) specific target, (b) quantifiable mark, (c) specific time frame. E.g. a good goal for reducing poverty should be stated as, “Eliminating poverty by creating one million jobs in manufacturing for out-of-school youth by December 31st, 2018!”
A plan, similarly, should be strategic – and must take into consideration the following three factors: (a) analysis of the prevailing environment, (b) assessment of the internal environment, (c) suitability and availability of resources (human, financial, intellectual, natural, and etc.) E.g. a good strategic plan will envision the capacity to create one million jobs by tying it to the external and internal environment, including its history, and the available resources to making it happen!”
On hiring versus firing
“A great leader is not great because of the people they fire, but because of the people they hire. To discern and understand potential and leadership acumen in others is a genius only few have. However, to recognize lack of performance or other unbecoming traits deserving of firing is not brilliance, it is expediency. Therefore, a great leader will be remembered for the quality people they hired, polished and rallied, and not for those they cast away/shuffled or reshuffled, fired or denounced.”
On entrepreneurship versus group benefit
“Leadership is quintessentially entrepreneurship, because it means creating opportunities where none existed, so that others who may have had no chance can benefit.”
On leadership versus reports
“Leadership by Reports: Any leader in charge of 20 people or more must make use of reports. A report entails three useful criteria:
(1) Assessment: a good leader must assess the report thoroughly because a report is the revelation of the intentions, wills and aspirations of not only their workforce but the clientele/customers, and the people;
(2) Understanding: a second step is to try and understand the report. Lackadaisical approaches to report evaluation is a negation of the collective will of the organization, it is negligence;
(3) Take action: a report is not a fancy routine and should not be shelved to collect dust; it must be actioned.
While face-to-face meetings achieve a lot in terms of group synergy and are preferred, used in conjunction with reports, can do more to enhance efficiency; reports are an efficient way of performing group actions and can be a great tool available for dynamic leadership.”
On interest-based versus power-based and rights-based leadership
“Interest-based Leadership: is a new model in leadership formation. It is replacing both power-based (based on power) and rights-based (based on law or legal rights) leadership models. Power-based leadership dominated the leadership sphere till the early 1990s when most nations and organizations opted for rights-based. The trend in the 2000s should be interest-based (based on the aspirations and interests of the led) because a successful leader must be the one who understands the people’s motivations and aspirations well and involves them in decision-making. This model marries individual needs, aspirations and interests to the group’s purpose.
A leader is not now defined by position or power or because the law says that they are; but by their ability to marshal their human co-workers to achieve particular ends. It is a win-win situation – a leader is happy they delivered; and the people are happy they made it possible and were a part of it.”
On leadership versus subordination
“Leadership and Subordination: There is no culture or place where anybody feels good to be a subordinate. It is psychologically very difficult to be a subordinate. Human beings are not wired to easily taking orders from others. Taking orders from another or being a subordinate limits the scope of being truly independent; dehumanizes decision-making process and judgment; and makes people feel distant from the goal. A good system must device intelligent ways of handling subordination. Here are four ways:
(1) Enhance independence – make people feel freer and be more independent in their enterprises. Embody the balance of dependence and independence into every need. Let the people or followers, know that they depend on you because they have to, that they don’t want to leave you because they don’t want to, and that they are intricately a part of the whole while maintaining some level of independence.
(2)Establish certain areas within which employees/workers/volunteers/people can do what they wish instead of what you wish, all while they remain diligent and contributing to the overall success of the cause.
(3) Explore the idea of rotational-regimentation, where leaders or people are rotated so that they all have a feel of what each department or enterprise does.
(4) Engender interest-based modalities: Let people accept roles without friction or rebellion by reflecting their own sense of worth and accomplishment. Pay particular attention to personal characteristics such as age, gender, class, rank, and etc. Let people feel that there is actually something in it for them.”
By Charles Mwewa
Author of The Seven Laws of Influence.