By Oluwasayomipe Osasona
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Of all the definitions of leadership I have come across, this definition is the one that appeals to me most. Why? Because this definition completely describes what’s in my head anytime I imagine myself in charge of a group of people. It’s really appealing. Just imagine being the leader of a project you have been planning for years, one that you are really passionate about, and then there are a group of people that might’ve not have shared this passion with you from day one but are absolutely willing to do everything it takes to make sure that the job gets done and that’s all because of you and the type of leader that you are. Before ELP I defined leadership as organizing a group of people towards achieving a common goal but I didn’t really take into consideration the process of how this common goal is achieved (whether it was through manipulation or actual leadership) or if this goal is actually “common”. But now I understand that the interest of the group of people being “led” is a key factor which determines true leadership.
I can’t really recall myself being presented with leadership opportunities when I was in primary school (even though my primary school played an important role in my formative years) but as I progressed to secondary school, leadership opportunities would one way or another be unavoidable. My parents played an important role in my leadership journey because of the type of values that the training they gave me had inculcated in my lifestyle. These set of values made me have a mindset of determination, focus, respect and gratitude. Respect, which made me realize that we are all as important as each other was one thing that made me want to treat everyone in a good way (irrespective of whether I was superior to you by age or class) and this made my juniors in secondary school to be comfortable around me when the case might’ve been different with other people. I think Respect is essential in leadership because I want those I lead to understand that irrespective of who we are and whatever services we might be offering, we are just as important as each other.
Elon Musk is an individual that has played an important role in my leadership journey. His ability to dream big and work towards achieving his goals despite other people thinking his goals might not be practical inspires me. He is a visionary leader and I have grown to understand that vision in leadership is important. After I graduated from Secondary School. I attended a one-week leadership camp that was organised by The Rotary Club. One important thing I was able to take away from this camp was the importance of independence. A leader (who others look up to for guidance) should be able to handle himself and all his affairs. In my first year of university I took a course called ELP (Entrepreneurial Leadership Programme). The main aim of this course is as the name implies. We were taught several concepts ranging from self-identity to a business model and feedback. Throughout the duration of this course, I found the concepts of self-identity, PICS (Passion, Interest, Causes and Skills) and the business model canvas to be most beneficial to me.
I held posts of prefectship twice while I was in secondary school(in junior secondary and senior secondary) amongst other minor roles of leadership like being a class captain or in charge of a group for a class project and also held the position of representative for my department while in my first year of college and while I had all these opportunities, I always had in mind that I should try to make the best out of whatever I found myself doing and I always try to inculcate this particular mindset of diligence in others whenever I am opportune to lead them, to ensure that we make the most of whatever we are trying to achieve in the sense that we achieve the maximum outcome while also having experiences that will forever be valuable to us. This particular mindset of diligence matters to me because I believe that this life is all we have and it would do ourselves and those around us a lot of good if we strive to get the best of anything we find ourselves doing.
Science and technology, music and philanthropy are things I’m passionate about. It breaks my heart to know that there are people out there that cannot afford the basic necessities of life and that the government in my country hasn’t done enough to better the lives of these people. This is really important to me because I see all I have and I can’t imagine being without these basic needs because these are things I believe an individual is expected to have without having to go through much struggle. My strength in the field of science and technology is something I believe will help me tackle this problem and I intend to use that knowledge to create channels through which I can help people in need. I would need to improve on my ability to communicate with people in a way that would make them willingly offer services to achieve this goal.
I believe in making decisions that are practical rather than appealing. There are a set of values which are very important in my decision making process and these are: family and friends, family is very important because more often than not, these people play an important role in the life of an individual. I try my best to inform my decision making based on how the outcome of those decisions will affect my family. Especially whether it will make them proud. Friends have great influence on the life of an individual and could prove to be essential in the formation of partnerships. Hard work, most times, good things don’t come easily and if you really want something I believe you’re going to have to work towards it in the most excellent way possible. I will always choose hard work because one of its rewards is rest, because you can rest knowing that your outcome was well deserved and sincerely earned.
Respect, this plays an important role in how I decide to treat others (with respect). If people around you feel respected by you, it makes them value you as a person and as a leader. Flexibility, being rigid is a limitation. Being able to take risks and try things you aren’t familiar with is important because you become exposed to diverse ways of achieving goals. Optimism, this is important because it makes an individual to be more confident whenever doing something. A negative mindset discourages and is bad for leadership and productivity. Selflessness, putting others before oneself is important to me. I believe it helps to enhance our understanding of other people. I believe I have been able to live out these values to a satisfactory extent and as always, there is room for improvement. These six values are my most important because I believe that without them a person is not complete.
I lead myself majorly by setting targets with deadlines. I then motivate myself to work towards meeting these targets within the stipulated time. I have no problem in making these targets and deadlines flexible depending on the situation. I also apply this same principle when leading others. I ensure to set targets that are expected to be met within stipulated timings while also having a spontaneous mindset so I can easily make modifications where necessary. While doing all this, one thing I never leave out is to make sure I pay attention to the process that was undergone in achieving these goals so even when I’ve met these targets I’ll always appreciate the process. I came about this approach by observing the world around me and realizing that time is literally everything and that diligence matters because even the most minute of details could make a difference. The most salient aspect of this approach is how I try to organize things according to time with a diligent approach and appreciating whatever I find myself doing. The leadership paradigm I’d like to embody is a combination of that of a transformational leader and a servant leader. I chose this paradigm because I want to be the kind of leader who endeavors to bring about change as a transformational leader would while also having empathy for my followers like a servant leader would.
I believe my core purpose is to enc
ourage and help others to make the most out of life through acts of selflessness and service using my knowledge of science and technology. i want to help build a world where we all work together to make life better for each other, a world that is more technologically advanced, a world where the value of education is better understood and available to everyone, a world with equal opportunities. I am very privileged to have the opportunities that I have today and I have come to understand that these opportunities might’ve not necessarily been granted to me because I’m the best or because I deserve it. I believe there are people who, if only they had been granted such opportunities as I have, will do just as well or even better than I can but unfortunately are not privileged to be in my position. And sometimes I cannot help but wonder what great things that child begging on the street could have achieved if he or she had a fair chance at education or learning a vocational skill and that is why I have chosen this particular mission. To contribute in any way I can.
I believe looking for ways to be independent is what’s next for me. I believe I have reached a stage where I should begin to prepare to take full control of my life. I intend to look into opportunities that correlate with my skills and interests. I will continue to develop my skills and also work towards acquiring new ones in order to widen my range of opportunities.
As I stated earlier, flexibility is something I value very much. That ability to be able to make instant changes and try new things when necessary is important to me. I will be open to making as many changes as necessary to my leadership map as I continue my journey. As I continue to observe the world around me, I will have to adapt to methods that are suitable for me to achieve my goals. I will constantly review my approach in getting things done with respect to the world around me. I believe this will help me to constantly check myself to ensure that I am following the right path. I will ensure to revisit my leadership map whenever I find myself in a new point of leadership to see how far I’ve gone and what’s left for me to do and whenever I find myself questioning my leadership abilities. I haven’t really had the opportunity to analyze my leadership journey as thoroughly as this until now. I will make sure to always look back at this process and opportunity with a sense of gratitude and responsibility because I am responsible for the achievement of my goals.
This reflection was written by Oluwasayomipe Osasona, a student at Elizade University as part of the requirements for the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program delivered by The Afara Initiative.