The Leadership Problem You Must Solve before You Succeed

When you hear people talk of leadership, you notice that ultimately followership is mentioned. It's never a coincidence that leadership always go alongside followership. But the big question is, how do you lead people, making them obey what you say without imposing it on them?
Humans are the most difficult entities to lead because they have their own will with good reasons why they shouldn't do yours. But the ultimate goal of leadership is the overall good for everyone. And so what?

How Leaders have once Ruled

Considering how difficult humans were and still are, leaders had once used force, power and coercive methods to lead. They ensured that all decisions are directly imposed on the followers so as not to protect the autocratic and authoritarian status of the leader(s). Would you blame them for that? Well, not totally.
Modern methods of leadership have revealed that leadership is an ability that can be built up to the point where one doesn't have to force anyone or manipulate their will before they get the goal done.

Problems in Leadership

Leadership is a very 'broad-spectrum' topic that can't be exhausted completely in this single post. It would need somewhat 'more' than a whole mega library to fully exhaust the topic. But the problems in leadership involves one or both of the following:
  • The Leader's Abilities
  • The Follower's Compliance 
Whereas followership directly complements the term 'leadership', its use so much sounds awkward. Many scholars of the discipline of leadership have indisputably stressed a change of that status quo from leaders and followers so something closer and better.

The leader and his followers sound really awkward and should be replaced with something more friendly and better

Who are the Leaders

Have you ever looked at yourself and imagined what exactly you are? Have you ever looked in the group, looked at the leaders of the group and said to yourself "I am never a leader"?
In one of my writeups(not included here), I've expansively emphasized that you too and anyone you could lay your fingers at is a leader. You can unleash your leadership potentials. Read this post here on Unleashing your potentials
What that means is that even if you may not be electorally or otherwise appointed as a leader yet, you are still a leader in your very large sphere, whether or not you've known it yet.
John C. Maxwell simply stated that 'Leadership is influence'. And also, Steven Covey demonstrates in his book "The Seven Secrets of Highly Effective People" that you must strive to enlarge your circle of influence and this you do by acquiring more skills and ability.


There is so much I am supposed to talk about before I go on to the main topic for this discussion. But let me tell you this story;

A man had two children, a boy, and a girl. These children were loved by both of their parents. Their mother, Uliha was a deeply dark-skinned African lady. She was lovely,
always cheerful, and her presence knew no boredom. But there is a time her face
would become cloudy with no little fold of smiles. She would frown her supposedly
beautiful face until the facial markings looked somewhat like a masquerade mask. 
But such scary situations are only induced by the burning heat of the sun hitting her
back as she works on her little tomato farm. 

The two children would customarily be split and distributed accordingly. The boy to be with the father and assist in his carpentry works and the young beautiful lady would be
with her mother on her tomato farm. 
The little girl watched her mother's stony face surprisingly and questioned within her if someone had offended her mother. She was really observant to notice the masquerade mask on her mother's face each time she worked, but that was not all she noticed. She saw how her mother meticulously tilled the ground and would selectively place five seeds into a hole. The precision with which she picked the seeds and accurately drops three into the tiny hole was something she considered amazing. But she would later start planting seeds too, so she just had to learn. 
The truth is, no matter how difficult the task would be for her mother, she just preferred to do it anyway until there is someone that can do it the way she wants. 

Now, let's come back to reality for a while. Are you saying she would go get rest and be saved from these masquerade looks if she sees someone that can take her place efficiently? That's exactly what I am saying. 

..she would go get rest and be saved from these masquerade looks if she sees someone that can take her place efficiently

The Most Everlasting Problem

  Whereas this new era of politics has unturned the concept of discontinuity, it would take a prepared leadership mind to turn it back to that of continuity. Every true leader knows they can't live forever. If he so desires to lead forever, he knows that it will wear him down someday. But the greatest fear of a true leader, not one that one to benefit in some forms and run away, is that when I am away, can my subjects do it the way I want it?
That level of confidence that you'd leave and be sure they are doing it just the way you'd want it. How can you make this happen?

Solving The Problem

One part of the story I barely talked about was that the little girl grew up shortly after and her mother could take some breaks when she is at the farm. How did she achieve this?
Below are some tips on solving this problem:

1. Encourage them to Watch and Learn:
Observation is the mother of learning, they say. The girl was encouraged to watch when the mother took her along and made her feel comfortable to play with the things she loved right there. She would ask her to use her wooden matchet to try tilling the ground sometime. Whichever way you want to do it, encourage active participation of the members of your group that you are leading.

2. Design ways to Reward their Success: 
When she did something close to successful, even if not exactly the best that her mother wanted, she is always motivated by the response she got from her mother. There was a constant reason to do better.

3. Learn to Ignore Subtle Errors: 
In the course of experimenting, she had moved on to the real metallic hoe on a wooden handle. She didn't forget that she destroyed some plants many times. She was careful not to kill the plants at such times but it was just beyond her control. Her mother learned to ignore such occasions and it made her more confident.

4. Make Them Know their Mistakes:
It takes sharp sensitivity to differentiate between 'subtle errors that should be ignored' and 'those for which disciplinary actions should be taken'. Knowing this will enable you to know when you need to take such actions in other to point their mistakes to their knowledge, especially when they underestimate it.

5. Draw them Back after Scolding: 
A little child doesn't say you should not scold him but he says when he is done crying, you shouldn't close your arms when he is running into them. An older child says you shouldn't scold them at all, but when you have done so, never forget to open up those arms and call them in. A more matured person knows not to do wrong, he understands he is wrong when you mention it and needs not been told a thousand time over.

A little child doesn't say you should not scold him but...., you should close your arms when he is running into them

Serving the Followers

Leaders should try as best as they can to make their followers understood the true extents of their status as followers. Followers are not slaves or hired servants(except on occasions where they are actually hired and paid). Leadership even cuts across the bounds of hire or free. You can be a leader to someone you hired and paid, and they will never forget the impact in a lifetime. Simply being a boss that imposes everything on them makes them work with you solely based on a contract.
Followership is leadership, only in the reverse order. It means the leader is actually serving the people he claims to lead. This form of leadership was demonstrated by Christ too and my Christian faith has never flawed that.

The Followers Duty

The job of leadership is only difficult in humans because very many people in the followership session think they can do better than the leader, or that they are leaders too and should not be led. True, everyone, be it a follower or not, is a leader but sometimes the best way to show leadership is to be a true follower.

Sometimes the best way to show leadership is to be a true follower.


The major problem of leadership is a complex thing. Beginning with how to affect your followers to make them compliant, to how to equip them to be efficient and effective and to set them up to fill your gap when you are not available anymore. It is not until you attain this stage that you have actually succeeded in leadership.

Dear Leader, keep leading until you have truly led.

Prosper Yole

I am a lifestyle blogger, I write useful articles on successful life tips and hacks. Posts bearing Prosper Yole as author are either written by the blog author himself or by our various other contributors. Thank you for reading through. I look forward to having you more often. Please subscribe to my feeds below...

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