We often hear this over and over again: “Nice guys finish last”. But never: “guys who are not nice” get to win extremely early in the game. It makes it seem so categorised, like only an elite number of people get to take the top spot. And how only they and a few others know how to get there.
Sadly it sends a message of fear to all those looking to be the best in their field, let alone lead. It suggests that leading is not for everyone. But the truth is, we are all meant to be leaders in our own right. It’s the way in which we lead and how we choose to lead that determines whether or not others see us as leaders. My take is leaders are born, not made.
In a country such as South Africa, riddled with corruption in most parts and unemployment in another, it has become increasingly difficult to identify leadership amongst our people. Especially where the youth is involved. We as young people are at an age where it is important to know who to look up to, and identify as future leaders of our country. These people, their qualities, their mannerisms, their tact, business ethics and general communication with people, helps shape and mould the kind of leaders we look forward to calling our own.
So many of our leaders at the moment are not taking the time to teach young ones how to be seen as a leader. Their main concern is enriching themselves and staying in that position of power. But being a leader is more than that. It means taking the time to educate those who do not have the same education on how to maintain the kind of passion about changing others’ lives. That's what leadership is. The development of such is a start, letting the youth know that whatever route you take to succeed in life, can forge a course of leadership of some sort. Teaching but also appreciating the differences in each other’s passions, goals and careers.
Allowing whichever path you take to not only change your life but that of many out there who did not believe that they could for a second, impact another individual’s life, just by being themself. By believing that what they do and value counts for something bigger than the ordinary. That even in their mundane routine, they can influence the kind of change that could raise a leader.
Someone with strength, compassion, goals, faith, hope for a better future and a better youth or a better South Africa. Because of the choices the youth makes, they are shunned or deemed unintelligent. However, the unknown has been known to produce plenty of leaders. Giving way to diversity, versatility, and a wave of change that sets in motion another wave of change, enough to convince those who were in a leadership position long before us, that variety is needed. And from that variety, newness is born. Birth is a beautiful thing, filled with experiences, mistakes but most importantly growth and learning. That alone will educate us about the real purpose of leadership and its development. That we cannot be taught by one kind only. And there is a leader for everyone. Doesn't matter how different we may be from one another.
Being a leader is a position better fulfilled by the people living out their dreams and helping others follow theirs, thus embracing the meaning of life and the benefits of sharing it with others. Creating a source, a channel of accretion for many years to come. Affording, in the end, everybody, the opportunity to know that a leader is he/she who forges their own destiny while birthing that of someone else’s.
We are all born to lead in our own ways. Whether the last guy finishes last or not, the fact that he ‘finishes’, means there is a chance for another to start. The cycle continues, as we lead ourselves into an even brighter future for an even better tomorrow.
* About Education Ambassadors SA
The Education Ambassadors SA project was created and founded by Dimakatso Lukhele with the aim to create education awareness in South Africa. The project was born on social media through the sharing of career related information with all South African youth. The pages are updated weekly with career opportunities with the hope to lead youth with limited access to information in the right direction. The project's platforms have seen a massive increase, mostly because not all youth seeking bursaries, internships and learnerships have access to computers but through the platforms, they’re a click away from finding their dream career. Education Ambassadors SA have recently also started a blog, where young writers such as the writer of the article above, can showcase their work and their opinions on issues affecting our lives as South Africans.