Sunday Ehigiator writes that at the 2019 Akinjide Adeosun Foundation Colloquium and Awards recently held in Lagos State, the Governor of Oyo State, Governor and the Chief Medical Director of Reddington Hospital, Dr. Yemi Onabowale, were honoured for exemplary leadership
There’s the supervisor who criticizes everyone for spending time on the internet, but is discovered buying groceries online in the middle of the afternoon. There’s hardly anything worse for company morale than leaders who practice the ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ philosophy.
When this happens, you can almost see the loss of enthusiasm and goodwill among the staff. It’s like watching the air go out of a balloon and cynicism and disappointment usually take its place.
No matter what the situation is, double standards, witnessing people say one thing, and then doing another, always feel like a betrayal. They can be very destructive. If this ever happened to you, you can probably remember that sense of disappointment and letdown.
Thus, the 2019 Akinjide Adeosun Foundation Colloquium and Awards recently held in Lagos State, was an avenue to honour leaders who have continually walked their talk.
Themed, ‘Leadership by Example’, it was an event where all the speakers placed emphasis on the importance of being exemplary in leadership. Leadership was defined by Founder and Manager Brooke House, Mrs. Ifueko Thomas, as a process in which an individual influences the behavior and attitudes of other people.
“Hence leading by example helps other people see what lies ahead and act swiftly to counter any challenges along the way.”
Speaking on the theme, ‘Leadership by Example’, The School Perspective’, while addressing students and teachers of Meadow Hall College, Lekki, who were also present, Thomas said, “It is not just enough to point and dish out instructions to students, but joining the students in doing the same chores, goes a long way to instill quality moral standards in them.”
She noted that only by leading by example, can full moral impacts in the educational system and society at large be attained.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Leadership by Example; The Business Perspective’, the Executive Director, Retail Banking, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Mr. Olu Akanmu harped on the need for business entities in Nigeria to redefine their purpose in the community, and be more concerned with social impact, rather than profit.
“The purpose of business should not be about Profit. Profit should also have a social impact and we need to challenge ourselves in the context of a Nigeria with 92 million poor people.
“Business models must be such that increases access to market and services to many more people. We should not be contented with business just serving the top of the market and leaving 90 million Nigerians out of commercial market.
“We need to challenge ourselves with innovative business models that would task us to get our business to make profit but at the same time, deliver market and commercial access to many more people in Nigeria, so we can have better inclusion and share prosperity in the country.
“A situation for example, where only 40 per cent of Nigerians have a bank account, 60 per cent being left out of the banking system is not ideal. We need to find innovative models to get many more Nigerian to have bank accounts. Because when they have account, they can have access to credit, invest in themselves, set up businesses, and prosperity would be much more widely shared, rather than the situation today, where our commercial markets are only serving the affluent and the wealthy.
“Our business must be relevant to Nigeria and we must redefine the purpose of business, which it should be, not just to make profit but also to ensure that our businesses have positive social impact for the majority of people inclusively in the society,” he said.
On ‘Leadership in Example; the Government Perspective’, Member, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hon. Ade Adeogun, gave illustrations of how he had to take up a government appointment in Rivers State, Ministry of Environment without accepting to be paid salary.
According to him, “this was done so I could have free hand in bringing about the change I really wanted to see in that sub-sector of the state, without being put under any unnecessary pressure. And it worked.
“Also, considering that I wasn’t from the state, I foresaw that it would take extra work for people to have faith in my capabilities, hence, by not earning salary, I was only showing to them that, I wasn’t here for the money but my passion to serve and deliver the Rivers of their dream to them.
“I laid off those I had to no matter how close they were to government, and brought on board those I felt would do the job better, and the governor fully supported me. That is what leading by example is.
“I got involved with the process all the way, and it has being my principle even till date that I am in politics. If you’re in a leadership position, then you know that you have a responsibility to your team.
“They look to you for guidance and strength; that’s part of what being a leader is. And a big part of your responsibility is to lead them with your own actions.”
Speaking on what good leadership should center on, the Founder AAF, Mr. Jide Adeosun, spoke about the importance of ‘3C’s’ in leadership. He said, “Capability, Character and Communication are very important to leadership.
“Capability duels on your ability to lead right and effectively, while character is about leadership by example. Do what you preach and not otherwise. And lastly, you need to communicate effectively.
“By communicating, you carry everyone along. Speak to the people about your plans. Consult their opinion and ensure they understand you before acting.”
The high point of the event was the presentation of awards of ‘Empathy in Leadership and Excellence in Leadership to Governor Makinde and Dr. Onabowale respectively.
The duo was described as being among the few Nigerians who have left their foot prints in the heart of several Nigerians in their various fields.
In a brief remark, Makinde stressed on some of the commitments of his administration to the people within the frame of leadership by example. He said being accountable, taking responsibility and being transparent were apt to being exemplary in leadership.
According to him, “For me, my best ever serving leader is the late Chief Bola Ige. You may not know this, Chief Bola Ige’s efforts in the Oyo State Education Sector inspired lots of persons who never had a chance at education to go back to school and access a better future.
“According to an historian, great leaders; that is, leaders that inspired followers to act, are identified by the attribute of leading by example. This tells you that, before a country has a follower-ship problem, it must first have had a leadership problem.
“And the first thing a leader must possess is transparency. Leadership is about accountability and transparency. I personally have shown the right example by opening myself to scrutiny by declaring my assets and stating my net worth publicly.
“Also, our administration has been open about contract awarded since we got into office. After each of our executive council meetings which we hold on weekly basis, every Tuesdays to be precise, we hold press briefings where we put out statements of decision reached with facts and figures.
“Also is taking responsibility. In my inaugural address on May 29, 2019, I stated that, while I will delegate effectively, I know the works stops on my table. And I am not in the business of shifting blames.
“Just as I am happy to take the glory when things are going right, I am also ready to take responsibilities when they aren’t going as well as they should,” he added.