“A manager takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” Rosalynn Carter, US First Lady (b.1927)
Leadership is the ability to evaluate and or forecast a long-term plan or policy and influence the followers towards the achievement of the said strategy. It is a process of social influence which maximizes the efforts of others toward the achievement of a greater good.
In the league of leadership experts in Nigeria, Kehinde David Folarin has distinguished himself with proofs and products following. His subjects, among whom I belong, are excited learning under his tutelage. The impacts of his practical leadership have laid solid foundation for many of us; leading too in our various chosen careers.
Truly, leadership is about developing people and helping others reach their full potentials. It’s about equipping others with the right tools and strategies not only to maximize the success of an organization but also the lives of individuals. Leadership is influence.
For instance, Nigeria over six decades, has been grappling with leadership deficiencies. Long before Kehinde Folarin was born, the nation got independence but lacks the requisites and political will to birth quality leadership for growth and development.
In a chat with Kehinde Folarin recently, he was very clear about the core of leadership needed in all spheres of live. “In the light of the tremendous stress laid upon the leadership role in both secular and religious world, it is a general principle that we can influence and lead others only so far as we ourselves have gone. The person most likely to be successful is the one who leads not by merely pointing the way but by having trodden it himself. We are leaders to the extent that we inspire others to follow us.”
“Almost everyone is called to lead in some capacity. A father leads their family, parents lead their children, a teacher leads students, a pastor leads the church, everyone leads someone. The person you follow determines your inspiration and aspirations. “
Fortunately for someone like me, I have the opportunity to see, monitor and access the quality of Folarin’s leadership prowess. As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) where I work and my church pastor, Kehinde Folarin has top notch integrity. None of conducts has hidden areas that can’t bear public scrutiny. He lives above board in financial dealings, sexual behaviour and in family life. Using his family as template for us, he lives happily with his family and lovely children.
With global mindset, Kehinde Folarin thinks, works global and presents local relevance to all his endeavours. For some us around him or as mentees, we always marvel at his sense of duties and perfect touch excellence. To him, what worth doing, should and must be done well for humanity.
Another striking quality about Folarin is his frank open mindedness to ideas and issues. He once to us “Leaders are open to criticism and are readily accessible to run ideas by and open to communication. They gather ideas and information from a variety of political, economic and cultural sources, this gives them a well-rounded view, protects them from groupthink and fortifies what is true in their own heart and mind.”
True to the statement above, he is ever ready to listen and learn from your point of view on almost all issues raised on his table. He takes all angles from every member and collectively arrive at better end or results for all.
In one of those our leader’s and mentee conversation, I asked him. PKF, as I call him, what do you consider as that single success factor for a leader? His response stamped eternally on my mind. Hear him: “Love helps a leader appreciate each person’s worth, recognize their potential and creates the desire to add value to them. When love is absent, greed, envy, selfishness, malice, rejection, hatred and such vices manifest in abundance. When you do not love the people you lead, it causes the spread of the cancer of self- centeredness in the system. The way leaders treat people is the way the people also treat one another. One word that describes the act of love is the word respect. Everyone deserves a measure of respect.”
Kehinde Folarin doesn’t just teach love but live love life. He is unpretentious about his passion to see others succeed. Most of us who are his mentees are wondering how he does this. His commitment to others success is unparallel.
To lead in the current century, Kehinde Folarin posited that leader must be steadfast while adapting to technological changes. He believes Inflexible leadership causes organizations to lag behind competitors, which could ultimately lead to losing market share – or worse, becoming obsolete.
His focus is on people and leadership development. He uses people empowerment, dispensing leadership principles and institutionalizing personal development to fast-track individual goals and transform organizations.
With a doctorate degree from Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia USA, in Strategic Leadership, I think Folarin remains one of the very few leadership coaches Nigeria needs for its long-time retarded progress to come alive.
Osanyintuyi, Public Relations expert, writes from Lagos.