Leadership experts have said for the sustainability of future generations and economic growth, society must seek responsible and visionary leaders who are willing to nurture others, take the lonely path and act differently.
They made this call at the virtual Leadership Guardian Summit with the theme: Preserving the future of Humanity through effective leadership. The summit which was a pre-launch to a new book, titled, The Leadership Guardian – How to develop visionary leaders at home, work and in nations, is an essential blueprint for developing visionary leadership.
According to the convener and author who doubles as a leadership development expert and founder of Rellies Works, Kemi Ogunkoya, nations are already overwhelmed by accidental, incidental and theoretical leaders who have failed to offer substance and genuinely transform lives, homes are destroyed under the dictates of deficient parenting, business leaders would do anything to get ahead. There are still leaders who have sworn to stand firm and do right and have sworn to be genuine custodians of leadership, who are able to transcend from our present world into the future.
While delivering a keynote speech, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said, leadership is not a title but a responsibility those who seek must come to terms with while acquiring adequate skills to discharge such duties.
He said to deliver the future from leadership challenges, leaders need to recruit others to maintain longevity. He, however, lamented the conundrum on the eligibility of women to lead due to society’s disparity in place of birth and marriage which has been heightened by the diversity of religion, gender and age.
Fashola who stressed on the importance of education as a method of institutionalising leadership noted that from cradle through primary, secondary and tertiary, education is vital for future leadership which has shaped generations. He said the home is a major leadership production centre that builds and shapes values – character and integrity.
While examining leadership in perpetuity and visionary leadership, Senior Economic Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI) Dr Oby Ezekwesili, said any leadership in perpetuity will not be serving the people after a while because leadership should be able to grow else it has failed in this key area.
“The visionary leaders have a clear idea of how the future should be and through the power of influence that they have, they are able to mobilise people to see that future with them and buy into the prospects that future holds for everyone.”
Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Founder of Thew Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu, represented by The President/CEO of Transcorp Plc, Mrs Oen Omogiafo spoke on building a business that reaches the future through visionary leadership noted that a key quality of a visionary leader is one who has a clear idea of what the future holds and sets visions and goals to achieve. “He must be resilient, be able to take intelligent risks, be a skilled communicator and organise people with levels of expertise.”
For Managing Director, Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) and Executive vice-chairman, ND western, Dr Layi Fatona, building businesses that last requires leadership and fundamentally requires people who are originators, ready to drive an idea, with a clear and sustainable proposition.
“There is no lasting business that goes on a smooth sail; hence you need to take on every obstacle one problem at a time. You must have a team that will give full and total commitment even if you are near-failures, the team keep the hope alive, hence building a business that lasts involves shared risks, focus, discipline, integrity and believe in yourself.”
On the role of parents in raising future leaders, Managing Director, Gal Parenting Place Mrs Abimbola Olayinka said that an individual’s background, emotional occurrences and environment determines who a person is. “As a parent what you have to change in order to raise kids else, you will not change the circle of raising the same set of Leaders. Since leadership starts with you as a parent, your lifestyle influences your child who models you.”
Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, informed that an important question to establish is why one wants to lead, “greatness is determined when one leaves the office, it is important that the purpose for leading is what you totally believe in, you should surround yourself with smarter people who you can also learn from.”
Certified Leadership Trainer and Coach, Mrs Dupe Akinsiun said leading the future today requires leading people to the future they desire which starts now, “leadership is not about title, it is a role and responsibility to serve a vision you are committed to, it is not about what you have but who you are.”
At the end of the summit, Ogunkoya urged participants to be awakened to the call of leadership. Reiterating that leadership is shapeless and will take the form of whatever it is given, hence irrespective of gender, social status, race and ethnicity, anyone can lead and everyone should rise to the call preserving the future of homes, businesses and nations by raising more visionary leaders.