On Monday, 20th January, America celebrated the ‘Martin Luther King, Jr. Day’ as her citizens and several citizens of the world remembered the life and times of that great man. In Nigeria today, we need to emulate this type of role model in our effort to build a developed Nigeria.
The Leadership expert, John Maxwell, in a recent podcast teaching on ‘Creating Positive Change’, listed the 4 L’s of a Leader which were exhibited by Dr. King. They are: Love, Listen, Learn and Lead. Having carefully analysed the 4 L’s, I have discovered that these are the 4 critical phases a nation-builder must go through.
Love: This is the first and most important phase because out of it comes compassion and less criticism; a commitment to live for others irrespective of the cost, religion or ethnicity; the willingness to listen and learn solutions; and the courage to step out of our comfort zone and lead the implementation of the solution we’ve generated.
I personally believe that our biggest problem is the lack of love for Nigeria and her people. The result has been a self-centred citizenry seeking to meet their own needs only and yet, we can all see our nation collapsing before our eyes and we becoming victims of this outcome.
For our sakes and for that of our coming generations, we must make a commitment to love Nigeria and her people and until this happens, development (human and physical) will not come to us.
Listen: When we have a love for Nigeria, we develop a compassionate heart that seeks to understand the motives behind the corruptible acts citizens at all levels commit. This commences the listening process and as we listen more, we develop a solution-focused mindset rather than a problem-focused mindset.
One of our biggest hindrances is the constant criticism of Nigeria and her people, and we do this with so much passion. It is a hindrance because we are doing much talking and are not listening. Without effective listening, the ability to seek solutions to problems will be hindered and in the event that we attempt a solution, it will most likely be the wrong or poorly prepared one.
Learn: With a mindset that loves Nigeria and listens to the pains of her people, we will naturally be compelled to go in search of solutions through the learning process. It is not possible to be full of compassion and yet do nothing to address the problems around us.
The learning process places a demand on our time. It will require cutting back on time spent on leisure activities (watching sports, reality shows and movies, social media, parties, gisting, etc.) and the time saved invested into research through books, blogs, online courses, lab work, surveys, etc.
It is so sad to hear several Nigerians talk about the New Nigeria and yet, the commitment to study the solutions required is ignored.
Interestingly, it is from our learning that we get equipped to practice and then qualify to teach others through communication, modelling and mentoring.
Lead: With an effective learning phase, we are ready to launch out with courage to implement solutions. Yes, courage is required because any solution we seek to implement will be against the prevailing culture (way of life). This means, people can see the benefits for them but still oppose it.
But a life motivated by love for Nigeria cannot afford to give in to opposition. Persuaded by compassion and a careful listening to the pains of the people with a well-researched solution, we will be sold out to our solution and the sacrifice it will demand.
This combination of passion for Nigeria, understanding of the problem and a commitment to serve will produce citizens who will initiate and sustain change without waiting to be appointed or elected into an office.
These sorts of citizens validate their commitment to nation-building by their sacrificial lifestyle and this usually serves of proof of authenticity to those around them. The outcome is the influence they have on their circle of influence.
From the above, it is obvious that the key way to reproduce the number of nation-builders is not mainly by what we say but by our lifestyle. We can influence our workplace, business place, our community and our family through a lifestyle that loves, listen, learns and leads.
I ask you now, if you say you want a developed Nigeria, do you love this country?