Humility and exemplary leadership are two major virtues which when tactfully combined together produces good service delivery in both public and private sector in any given society. However, sadly enough these two important virtues are rare to come by in this millennium kind of leadership. Nevertheless, there are exceptionally few men of integrity who have made it a point of duty to stand out regardless of the prevailing norms amongst the emerging leaders of today.
This brings me to an important question, “Who can spot emerging leaders? a question that ensued from a discussion I had with a friend. This question got me thinking and I remembered vividly my college days when I was nominated to be a school prefect, while addressing us the Principal told us that we were chosen because we have been identified as emerging leaders.
In spotting emerging leaders, He didn’t rule out talent, education, or leadership presence, but in his words he added “……I can usually tell if they have the humility to make it…….”. Those words remained indelible and helped fashioned my interpersonal skills.
Humility is an underrated quality that isn’t touched upon often. It is something mentioned heavily in religious texts, and it may seem a little old-fashioned, but it’s a quality that is wholly necessary today.
The feeling or attitude that you have no special importance that makes you better than others is humility. In a generation where titles, positions , last names etc become bargaining power, humility seems like a negative quality, almost like a sign of weakness rather than a strength. A recent encounter has proven again that humility is a type of modesty that will get you very far in your life as a person, a contender, and a leader.
I had made efforts and taken steps to meet someone in one of the North Eastern States Universal Basic Education Board. All efforts have proven abortive while I was giving up the thoughts of ever meeting this person, I got an information that they had a meeting in Abuja at Barcelona Hotel.
During Lunch time, I rushed to their meeting venue to see him. I have never met this man, so it was herculean accessing the hall and looking for an unknown person. In that confused state, an angel in human form asked what I wanted. When I told him, he took the stairs down to the gallery went into the hall brought the person out for me.
This act so deeply impacted me and again reminded me of the need to wear humility as a dress. This angel was on his way out, had no reason to look back nor rending help. Unknown to me, he was the convener of the workshop, the Chief Servant of the programme yet he wore humility as dress. In x-raying this, 3 things come to mind.
- He is empathetic: He quickly knew I was in dire need of something that was not within my reach.
- He is people oriented : He halted his movement to attend to me.
- He is result oriented: He went through the crowd to bring the person out for me.
- He didn’t ask for my name nor offer a card, he just left back to his car. I later got to know him from the person I came to look for as he was shocked I brought the boss to look for him. The Boss !!! How can he be the BOSS? Humility is the foundation of leadership it helps to build trust and facilitates learning, which are key aspects of leadership and personal development. This angel has displayed qualities that are required for effective NATIONAL leadership. There was no nepotism in his decision to help because I was clearly not dressed as a northern, yet he was one. I am watching the political space to see him. Irrespective of tribe and religion which our enemies are using to divide us, I will note only vote but would work with structures to ensure he gets to the top.
This is no other than Mr Iro Umar, Head Special Projects Universal Basic Education Commission. Sir you have set the bar too high for this generation through your conspicuous humility. ‘’……. difference between a good leader and a great leader is humility …” Jim Collins.
You are a great Leader worthy of emulation. Ride on with this Virtue.
Omokide Chikodi Iheoma is a trained Lawyer and Education Advocate based in Abuja, Nigeria