Self-centredness and rent-seeking mindset have been identified as major factors stunting the growth and development of communities, organisations and families.
Speakers at the opening session of the 3-day Excellence in Leadership Conference 2015, organised by Lagos-based Daystar Christian Centre, stated this on Wednesday, stressing the need for the culture of servant leadership.
The Senior Pastor, Daystar, Sam Adeyemi, who noted that everyone leads in one way or the other, said, “When a leadership problem is rooted in culture, it will take more than the action of one person to solve that problem.
“We need to think about how we think collectively about leadership and our expectations of leadership.”
He said the essence of leadership is service, and not the leader.
“That is why we have tried to shift the focus away from the individual who occupy a position. The leader is too small to be the purpose of the position, title, power and resources that are at the disposal of the leader.”
Adeyemi, who defined service as “meeting needs, helping someone, solving a problem for someone,” said, ”Self-centredness and leadership don’t go or work together. Turning the focus from self to others is one of the greatest transformations that can happen to anyone. It unleashes one’s potential.”
Noting that putting others first is not natural, he said true leaders see service as their calling.
He said, “The conversion from being self-centered to others-centered occurs at a spiritual level. It is a spiritual and life-changing experience.”
He noted that the authors of the book ‘In Search of Excellence’ confirmed that organisations that put people first always outperform other organisations.
“I discovered that countries that have discovered the secrets of national prosperity now put community service in the educational curriculum. So even from primary school, you must begin to carry out projects, acts of service.
“When you want admission into the university, you must write a personal essay and part of it must be something you did to serve the community, or else they don’t give you admission into the university.
“Why? They are about to produce a self-centered adult if they don’t do that. A self-centered adult who will be a disaster, who will be out to consume resources and opportunities, who will not add to the community, but who will look for what to get from the community.”
I think we need to do something to our school curriculum, Adeyemi said.
“The earlier people experience the conversion that I am talking about, the better. To occupy a position of influence without being free from the nature of self-centeredness is a set up for leadership failure.
“We must not build our families, organisations and communities on individuals who are selfish,” he added.
The Senior Pastor, Covenant Christian Centre, described servant leadership as a template of leadership that Jesus brought to the earth.
He said, “The servant leader is a servant first of all before he becomes a leader,” adding that such a person sees leadership as a greater expression of service.
Noting that leadership could be service-driven or power-driven, Oyemade said, “The best test for the servant leader is: do the people being served grow as individuals? Do they get wiser, freer, more autonomous and more likely to become servants?”
He said leaders must understand the power that lies in people and how to align people together to achieve goals, stressing the need to build leadership on a solid feedback system.
“The greatest resource of a nation is its human capital. And leadership is the only thing through which that capital can be unlocked and released.”
According to Oyemade, servant leadership is the template of leadership for unlocking the growth potential that is in people.
“Great nations have emerged by unlocking the enormous potential in their people through servant leadership.
“In order to operate a servant leadership, we must rid ourselves of the rent-seeking mindset, one seeking to increase one’s share of the existing wealth without creating new wealth.”