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December 30, 2016

Leadership: Leading or Ruling

Leadership start with you, it all started from the family but unfortunately today we look at the leadership from the macro point of view most especially from the political follow by the organisation leadership.

 Family Leadership
Within the family, it is very easy to view the kind of leader you are. Are you faired or love? The people around you; are they avoiding to offend you because they don’t want to lose your love or because you will castigate or punish them. The result is so simple you are either ruling over them or leading them.


Rulers always make the law alone and punish the offender with little or no consideration. They are always Mr. Perfect. To the leaders, they know they have to leave as a good example; they make the laws from people’s opinion, and punish offended with full consideration knowing perfectly that no one is above mistakes.

It is a global view that leadership start within the family, what become of a community or nation is a result of products of family orientation and leadership. Kids learn faster and that start from the parents and guardian. What they learn from them become of them when they grow up, while some will latter change, majority remain what they learn from their childhood.

Organisational Leadership
Looking at leadership from the organizational perspective, it is glaring that ruling over people is becoming an archaic leadership style in the eyes of stiff competition. A good organisation will not want to lose her best brain to the competitor. Thus, the need to lead prevails over ruling even at the expense of unemployment that is the order of the day. Employee gives up and calls it quit if the leadership style is too rigid for their life style which is giving birth to many smaller competitors we have all around big organisations, except for few big organisation that hard to start small. In another way round, even if they fail to quit, ruling over people lead to employee turnover that go along ways to affect the organisational progress.

Leadership within an organisation has become a team work. Hence, the leader has to motivate the team member to achieve the set goals. A good leader knows that to achieve the best there is need to carry the team along. There suggestion and contribution is what is needed to achieve the desire aims an objective. When ruling over them, there is no way to get the best out of them, they withhold themselves back and do just what you want them done, that’s all. After all, that is what you expect of them: just follow and do what I ask you to do. In other word, a good leader is according to Lao Tzu which says, “To lead people, you should walk behind them” not in their front. Walking behind them is leading, while walking in front of them means ruling.

Just as it is within the family, so it is in an organisation, you have to carry the members along, you have to motivate and inspire them to be the best to achieve the best, you have to believe you don’t know it all, just a simple an trivial word from a kid might be the inspiration need to take the best decision you’ve being waiting for. As a good leader, you have to appreciate them, you have to let them know they matter a lot to your success and at the end you have to let them know you achieve it together or where possible let them know it is there effort that gets it done. “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves”- Lao Tzu. 

Representative Leadership
Either we view this from micro or macro perspective, within community or nation. People’s focus is in this aspect of leadership. When someone is appointed or elected to represent their interest, he is expected to carry them along and utilize the resources entrust at his disposal for the benefit of the masses.

Leaders at this level need more than being motivating or inspiring, they are expected to be honest and accountable. In other to be accountable, they will sacrifice and put first the interest of the people they are representing ahead of theirs. Contradicting these is ruling rather than leading.

It is not easy to lead at this level since there will be many interest group you have to satisfy, but more than worst when you as a result of inability to satisfy diverse interest group you now see the position as an opportunity to satisfy yourself at the expense of the masses. The solution is simple, do your best honestly and leave the rest. 

Leadership is diversity: no one-size fits all approach
There is no one-size fits all leadership approach, it all depends on the environment and people you are leading. While Lao Tzu says, “To lead people, you should walk behind them”, another approach to lead is to create path for others to follow and lead them successfully to the final destination. We can relate this to a start-up entrepreneur who have a vision, create a team then strategies and motivate the team to achieve the best result as envision.

Even if you are not appointed or elected to represent or lead a team, your influence on people around you will determine whether you will be a leader or ruler.

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