The eagle does not fly, it soars. It is our prayers that we soar, and not fly. For every dimension of success and influence, there are dynamics of control at every level of leadership and growth.
If you do not have a rich experience, you will not last. If you are a Christian, the Bible counsels us in Matthew 10 verse 16 that as we go about our days, some of us are sheep and some are wolves. However, we should be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. The serpent or a snake kills and swallows. It does not leave evidence, but the wolves leave the bones, the evidence.
And a sheep is a helpless animal, which needs protection from danger. That is why you need the political giants and people of influence in your inner circle, and most importantly you need a mentor and burden bearers. Top positions are high-risk. Today, when you left the office, you had a job, and the following morning, the ones with all the powers decided that you are no longer needed, or they refuse to renew your contract.
There are certain enemies that have no business knowing about you until you attain certain heights in life. Before you get there, you need preparation. It is because of this inability to be properly prepared that some leaders do not soar in their tenure, but they fly and struggle and push down instead of transforming and grooming the organisation’s employees. And they are pushed out after five years of service or before the five years, and they fall from grace to grass.
Some of the leaders are given certain types of membership and influence prematurely. As a result, they are exposed to levels that they are not prepared for, and do not have the stamina to stand and remain. Different types of leadership levels attract different types of challenges. Make sure that you are well- equipped before you hold high-power positions, because there are challenges assigned to specific leadership positions, and not to people. The moment you assume that particular leadership role, those challenges will be dispatched to you. We should all learn from the humble servant Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah. She understood, and she stood tall and fought and won while on the potters’ wheel. In addition to her being older, mature and a seasoned high-powered politician, a leader with a strong support system, she was prepared for her battle.
These forces of nature do not know your name, and they care less about your name until you assume certain leadership roles. These forces of nature will deal with you if you are not prepared. Conspiracy is a norm. If you hold a position of power or influence, you need to know how to deal with conspiracy, conspiring against you by the forces which control the universe. Some people will not tell you this, that is why they keep their low-level jobs, and the forces of nature do not bother them.
There are levels, which if you were to attain or reach, the forces of nature will seek you out. They don’t locate you for who you are; it is because you have attained a certain level of influence, and now they are interested in you. The natural forces know the impact of influence that you can have.
You are a CEO, and the board or the council is fighting you or conspiring against you, as in the case of the NIPAM executive director. Maybe you are incompetent and competent in some areas. You are fighting with your team. If there is no peace, then it could be that the forces of nature have come for you, to derail you from grace to grass because of your level. The forces of nature can use anybody, in the board chairperson position, or position of power. Or you are supposed to succeed your predecessor, and he decides that you fight for a position that is rightfully yours, and you win the challenge.
Sometimes in life, you have to fight to get what is rightfully yours. The Bible makes us aware that from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffered violence, and those who are violent took it by force. So, if you are Christian, you know that you cannot fold your hands while another takes what rightfully belongs to you. You need to re-strategise and fight for what belongs to you. Otherwise, you die like John the Baptist, and your blood starts to fight for you after your head has been cut off, meaning after you are dead.
Those who have gone through needless disciplinary hearings can only understand the CEO and board battles or fights; it is all because of the level you have attained. Some of the leaders are suspended or put on leave of absence. And that can be a frustrating experience, and some leaders take their own lives, like in the case of the AGRIBISDEV CEO, who took his life because he did not understand that it was not about him, it was about the level of influence that he has reached, and his inner circle and support system were probably not aware of that important fact.
Some leaders and business people are aware and know that the higher you go, the more the world becomes a strange place. They go and look for powers. Some go to herbalists and doctors, and some go to Pentecostal churches, soak themselves in prayer, and get their fortification that way. Because they know and are aware that their lives have changed, and they are in constant battles. Maybe their businesses just collapsed, and they do not know how to pay back the loan they have borrowed.
So, you are the first to graduate with a Master’s or Doctoral degree. You are the first one to hold a managerial, senior manager, CEO or MD or a board position. Of course, you will have battles to fight, strange battles. Today, the board is happy with you. Your team is happy with you, and you are working together. The following day, there is a conspiracy from heavenly places that leads to your leave of absence, or leads you to become unemployed.
Then, you serve one term of five years, and the board chair is fighting you. Now, the whole board is unhappy with your performance. You will have to exit. Your connections got you a new CEO position. The person that was in that position was told that the board is not happy with him. They used to be happy with him, everything was fine, and conspiracy sets in, and now he is unemployed.
Adaptation is proof of honour in a leader. Hardship is not a good thing. Respect great people because their names are great, and their greatness can rub off on you. There is no classmate, comrade or former colleague in greatness. Do not ignore their relevance.
Dishonouring great men is shutting the door. Have a healthy respect for successful and influential people, even if they treat you with less regard.
*Dr Rauna Shipena is a doctor of management graduate from Colorado Technical University in the USA. Her doctoral degree concentration is in executive leadership. A scholar-practitioner, who can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.