Leadership has been one of the oldest concepts in the history of human existence or the planet earth. Anywhere there are at least two living organisms of the same specie or different species living in the same habitat, leadership is required either in the form of rotational, periodic or perennial arrangement etc

One of the realities about Leadership is that over the years it has evolved in principles and practice, therefore the occupier of any position of leadership is required to align himself to the evolution of leadership in order to fit in and become effective in his roles according to contemporary realities. 

There were leadership principles and practices of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. And those principles fitted into their different times but it is important also to note that there are peculiar principles and practices adoptable for the 21st century. Avoidance of them leads to chaos in any society. This is the underlining factor behind the unmitigated unrest and fracas nations and societies are experiencing today all over the world. This is because most leaders in the 21st century are still leaving in the realities of what obtained in the previous centuries.

What is leadership? By my simple definition, it's the ability to influence others to do the right thing without threats, intimidation and control. To do the right thing in every respect. To make subjects have good results, to make them think or behave right, to make them have vision, to make them know what they never knew, to expose them to opportunities, to give them the right perspective of life as you lead by example.

In the previous centuries, a king as a leader of a community could decide to take the beautiful pregnant wife of any of his subjects and get away with it. In fact, the husband would be the one to carry the luggage of his wife and follow the king's wards to the palace. It was an honour to you in some quarters in those dark days for the king to desire your wife or any of your precious possessions. The king was constituted to have the best of anything and everything. Whatever the king as a leader did was done. No questioning!!

Don't forget David and Uriah's wife

I can also remember that in our primary and secondary school days, there were certain teachers who became popular in our schools as a result of their notoriety in flogging students. What about our parents? Who used to unleash hell-provoked beatings on their children for minor offences with koboko, bulala, pankere etc. That was a type of leadership then, and it was accepted by that time. I guess all those have changed or better still been reduced in our present days. 

According to John Maxwell, "everything rises and falls on leadership." In other words, if there's progress in any society, commend the leader. And if there's otherwise, blame the leader as well. Whatever happens in any society can be connected to the competence or otherwise of the leader.

Leadership in the 21st century is the most delicate and challenging of all times but at the same time, could be the most effective, interesting, influential and result-oriented owing to a number of facilities available which were not so in the previous centuries. 'Followership' has drastically evolved with time but for Leadership to be effective and people oriented it must also evolve at the same or higher frequency in order to efficiently deliver its purpose.

Unfortunately, most of the people that occupy Leadership positions in our days are ignorant of the current leadership paradigm or they are living in self denial of current realities hence, chaos and commotion in their domains.

Happy Independence!

-         Sam Oye Akinpelu wrote in from Lagos.

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