The going-concern of any organisation or entity is threatened when its capital is depleted, drained or mismanaged by those who are entrusted with the responsibility to manage the affairs of the organisation. The term ‘capital’ can refer to any financial resource or asset taken as a sign of the financial strength of an individual, organisation, or nation, and assumed to be available for development or investment (www.businessdictionary.com).
Capital can represent the accumulated wealth of a business represented by its assets less liabilities. It can also mean stock or ownership in any entity. We can have capital represented in the form of Financial Capital which is a tangible asset, Human Capital, Social Capital and Leadership Capital which are intangible capital or soft capital.
In this piece, I will focus on Leadership Capital as it affects Nigeria’s leadership recruitment process. Christopher Hoenig in his article; Leadership Capital-‘’Strategies for managing your organisation’s intangible Assets’’ defined Leadership Capital as an executive’s resources available to fuel his agenda. Therefore, for any political leader to effectively execute his agenda he must possess some leadership capital indexes. The lack of leadership capital awareness can lead to dangerous misconceptions among many aspiring leaders, for capital is not merely a constraint or an enabler, rather it is a centripetal force of Leadership. Leadership Capital is a stock – asset, which can be formed or drained, managed or mismanaged, and can have a high or low yield. Leadership Capital as a soft capital drives the hard capital. You cannot make any concrete or tangible achievement without having enough leadership capital. The problem Nigeria has faced since independence is due to leadership capital deficits amongst those who have been superintending over affairs of our nation. Leadership capital indexes like vision, people, relationship, idea, honesty, integrity, innovation, reputation drive the tangible or hard capital (money or physical assets).The best hard assets in the world can be rapidly liquidated in the hands of a leader without leadership capital.
Leadership Capital is the power of delivering superior results as a leader. It is a structured process to get a leader from being a ‘’dreamer to being an executor’’, turning an idea into impact through innovation and creating the environment for transforming such ideas into results. Leadership Capital is the wealth embedded in the ability to effectively translate ideas into real-world results (Davender Gupta: Leadership Capital – The Power of Delivering Results). He said a Leader must have ability to initiate and support growth.
The Nigerian Leadership Capital index has deteriorated, drained or mismanaged at all levels of governance since the independence of the country as most of our leaders have not exhibited these indexes required in leadership.
As the nation embarks in another process of recruiting our leaders, it is important for us to highlight the necessary leadership capital indexes that should be a benchmark for our selection process as every eligible voter is a ‘’recruiter’’ in the enterprise called Nigeria. This is to enable us recapitalise the deficit in Nigeria’s Leadership Capital in order to usher the country into the league of high performing nations.
Leadership Capital is the platform for growth in any nation. The three pillars of Leadership Capital are Foundation, Skills and Systems. The foundation of Leadership Capital is ‘’vision’’. A visionary leader must have clarity by knowing what he wants, the commitment to achieve the goals and take deliberate action or confidence to drive the vision. This takes courage to achieve because you will contend with the status-quo. However, this cannot be achieved without communicating your vision to the people. Therefore, one of the important Leadership Capital index essential in driving your vision as a leader is your communication skills (writing and reading skills). A good communicator expresses and understands ideas, by creating a win-win agreement, has ability to resolve conflicts without escalating the situation. Some of the attributes of a good communicator are questioning, listening, reading, facilitating, visioning, creativity, storytelling, persuasion, intuition, mediation, fun and enthusiasm.
As voters or recruiters in the on-going leadership recruitment process (election) in the country, we must be abreast with globally accepted leadership recruitment criteria necessary in selecting candidates with requisite skills that drive development, foster progress and unity in the country. As it is in the corporate world so it is in nation building, hence many countries of the world have set minimum requirements for leadership in the 21st Century. The most critical benchmarks countries set in their leadership recruitment process is identifying leaders at all levels of governance that bear the necessary leadership capital essential for transforming a nation. In Nigeria, the leadership capital of the nation has continued to dwindle, drained or mismanaged thereby deteriorating the capital adequacy of our nation building, hence the need to recapitalise our Leadership Capital using the window of opportunity the 2019 election has presented.
Another skill we should be looking out for in this 2019 election is congruence –‘’walking the talk’’ i.e self-leadership. As the campaign and debates are going on, politicians are making promises, we need to identify those that will ‘’walk the talk’’, self-leaders who will keep to their promises. The debates and town hall meetings are suitable platforms to screen and identify these individuals. Debates should not be restricted to the Presidential and Governorship elections only, local communities should organise debates and town hall meetings where they will engage and interrogate the candidates on their policies and hold them to account on such promises if they eventually win the elections. Congruence goes with accountability, effective behaviour, commitment, and responsibility, conscious or deliberate effort in achieving results, integrity, and respect for boundaries, spirituality, passion, focus, intensity, time management, tenacity and purposefulness. Also a leader with great capital should have a commanding presence that is inspiring, an effective relationship with the people, compassion, and trust, ability to delegate, connecting, coordinating, initiative, collaboration, goal setting, speed, risk taking, empathy and adaptability. These are fundamental persona of our 21st Century Nigerian Leader.
With these attributes and skills a leader can effectively address the issue of dysfunctional systems in Nigeria. The major problem of the Nigerian state is ineffective systems or weak institutions. With a recapitalised leadership, there will be goal setting with timelines (speed) for the revitalization of our systems for efficiency and effectiveness. Leadership capital enables the leader to ensure the independence of the systems and institution for optimal performance. The characteristics of an effective system are, visibility (transparency), accountability, there should be specific individuals accountable for each activity and each result, and every activity traceable to an individual. An effective system design has four components – Tasks, People, Tools and Measurement. A leader must know how to harness these components for an effective system. For leaders, a world-class reputation, brilliant personnel, revolutionary inventions and strategic alliances are premium capital with extremely high value.
Finally, leadership recruitment process is a serious engagement in any country as the destiny of the country lies in the quality of leadership that emerges through the process. Having identified the important premium leadership capital balance which include vision, integrity, passion, innovation, communication, courage and intellectual capacity that form the benchmark for our leadership selection process, let us go boldly to interview and subsequently recruit those that meet our selection criteria in this 2019 elections at both national and state levels.
►Duru writes from Lagos