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Power, Potential and Social change

An interesting or even scary concept about leadership is how easily it can take turns – whether positive turns or shocking, disturbing ones. To people in the position of followership (as everyone is at some point in their lives), hope is what we hang on to as we are under leadership. The truth is that even when you are an avid supporter of someone and had a hand in getting that person into power, after he or she assumes leadership, hope is what you hold on to. This is because leadership can take turns. Someone who made impressive promises and seemed very compatible for a job, may turn out to be a poor performer. Or there may be systematic barriers that will slow the person down Or hopefully, the person could be the dynamo that you expected.

There are different angles that one may choose to analyze leadership from. However, leadership should be seen as a mandate to deliver, to make things better than before, to influence people positively, to produce solutions and to create future leaders. Leaders hold influence and as such, should be careful that their influence is being directed towards a greater good.

This week, the Pope’s visit to the United States was highly publicized. Social media was abuzz – news alert after news alert kept coming in. It was hardly impossible for me to not get caught up in the frenzy. I skimmed through the excerpts of the Pope’s speech to the US Congress and I was impressed. I could imagine the thousands or millions of Catholics in America and around the world who would have watched the Pope’s speech or read it with way more enthusiasm than I – and were being positively influenced. I considered Catholics lucky to have a leader that is seemingly open-minded and an advocate for the fair treatment of the marginalized and our environment. The events surrounding the Pope’s visit reinforced within me, the importance of using the fortune of influence for good.

In a world shaken by injustice, war and pain, we need leaders who are dedicated to using their role to lead people in the direction of unity, peace, success and care. We need leaders who can see above the powers they possess – to the potential that each individual possesses – and in this way, understands that people can be great contributors and changemakers when they are rightfully empowered. Picture the professor-student relationship: The professor has the leadership mandate in the classroom and imparts knowledge to people who have a potential to apply that knowledge in the near future, in service to others.

So, here’s to hoping for a world with leaders that are humbled to be in a position to guide and work with those they lead towards the path of greatness and social change.

Love & Peace,

Chiamaka

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