Leadership is about going beyond yourself to show others the path to follow, it goes beyond how you feel most times to carrying the burdens of others. People have challenges they are facing in their lives, so if you must function as a leader and not just as a manager, you must put your challenges aside and choose to solve the burdens of others.
You graduated from the university with high hopes thinking everything will go the way you planned but your hopes were dashed. Suddenly you realised that people are looking up to you so that you can pay their bills. I mean your siblings, parents and other relatives. It becomes a challenge.
You are a youth leader in your church and a secretary in a Youth Leadership Network. But you find it hard to pay your bills and that of those looking up to you. People don’t know what you are going through; they run to you seeking for help about how you can help solve their problems.
Even your pastor in church does not know you don’t have enough money on you. He appoints you to handle a task of raising N100 million for a project. He says you should pay N500,000 as your own part of the money. You are not happy with the decision, you say in your mind, ‘This pastor doesn’t know I don’t have a job.’
While in your Youth Leadership Network, a sister starts giving you signs of wanting to come close. She wants something more than just being a friend, she wants a relationship. You tell yourself, ‘I don’t think I want a relationship now’. Your simple reason is that there can’t be romance without finance.
The sister thinks you’ve got all it takes, because she sees you appearing crisp, neat and smart. You make a meaningful contribution, whenever it comes to donation and strategy. She gets closer and you decided to take a shot to have a relationship with her. The relationship gets enlivened and you feel it should continue that way. You forget about the frustration of raising N500,000, the fact that others are looking to you to solve their problem and that you don’t have a job.
The next day, a neighbour who sees you going out every day with the mind that you have a job comes complaining that he has lost his job. He starts lamenting how he will not be able to meet his needs. You smile and say in your thought, ‘Only if he knows what I’m going through.’ Then you advise him, not to stay at home so that the wife doesn’t look down on him.
You tell him, ‘Make sure you check the job board everyday, on your way out, it might help.’ He gets encouraged and says ‘I’ll do exactly what you’ve said.’
In two weeks, he comes to you and says, ‘Thank you for your advice; I saw an advert on the job board last week.
I applied for the job and I got the job, thanks!’
You then get to the point where you ask yourself:
‘What is happening to me? How come I’m helping people solve their problems while mine remains unsolved? I have searched for a job, for more than three years now and I’m not getting any, but a man who checks the job board once gets a job.
‘What is going on?’
Let’s pause the story here to let you know why all this is happening to you.
There might be several reasons but I just want to remind you that is a major calling on every man. It is this calling that has made you solve other people’s problems despite what you are going through. It is the leader in you.
Leaders are wounded healers. Against what they are going through, they enjoy solving the problems of others. This is an attribute of a true leader.
I’ll continue the story here:
After two months of dating your girl she discovers you don’t have a job. And she advises you ‘Why not start your own business? I’ve noticed you are good at advising and engaging people.”’
You give what she said a thought.
‘I think you are right, I will do the necessary research I need and then start the business.’
You start a consultancy company. In less than six months you are being invited to speak in multinational organisations. You make enough money to pay your N500,000 due for the fund raising project and still have enough to give to people looking up to you.
In less than a year, you get married to your girlfriend, and your organisation becomes a leading firm in your industry.
Your success becomes so known that organisations now invite you to be a member of their board. You start mentoring people in your organisation to be leaders and take ownership of what they do.
Let’s take a pause here, to continue later.
What happens most times to leaders who keep their own challenges aside to solve that of others is that they develop capacity. And that will make them grow from being positional leaders to influential leaders, thereby mentoring people who follow their cause.
The man in our story is an example of a wounded leader. Do you know what this story will not be complete without saying this part of the story?
You grow to become so influential and then people recommend you for an appointment. You take up the position and make a success of it.
Your mentorship becomes known.
You see your mentees grow to follow in your footsteps.
You become old, your life story becomes documented in a book.
The book is a bestseller, which results to people reading and telling your story across generations.
Does any part of this story reflect the stage you are? You can have a successful ending only if you become a wounded leader.