BS4S16 Leadership & Management Theories
TABLE OF CONTENT
- Leadership Theories————————————————-8
- Traditional Leadership Theories———————————-9
- Trait Theories——————————————————9
- Behavioural Theory———————————————–10
- Contingency Theory———————————————-13
- Contemporary Theories———————————————14
- Charismatic Theory———————————————–14
- Transactional Theory——————————————– 15
- Transfromational Theory—————————————-16
- Traditional Leadership Theories———————————-9
- Obafemi Awolowo—————————————————–19
- The man with a plan————————————————–23
- Awolowo:Ethics and Authenticity———————————-25
- Conclusions————————————————————-27 References——————————————————————29
The perpetual, insatiable desire to gain and maintain competitive edge is a natural human need shared by businesses, organizations as well as nations. Why does one organizational entity seem to prosper over and above another, given the same circumstances and conditions? Why do some national economies do so well in policy making and execution while others do not, even in the midst of huge human and natural resources? There is a singular answer to these questions; Leadership. It all comes down to the quality of leadership.
Nigeria is at a crossroads, with a national outcry and a desperate need for the next generation of leaders. There is a general consensus on the need for people who possess the selfless will and the right knowledge and ambition to champion our national discourse and chart our course towards prosperity and sustainable development. With this need in mind, this work sets out as an interplay of three themes. The first theme takes a look at the concept of leadership with a view to underscoring its importance by a comparison of intellectual discussions and writings on the subject. It elaborates on the conditions that must be in place for leadership to be in effect as a phenomenon. It also makes a clear distinction between leadership and management and discusses why strategic leadership is important to the survival of organizations. The second theme critically evaluates both traditional and contemporary leadership theories, taking into account their evolution through history and the works of the protagonist of these theories. The third theme evaluates the life and legacy of Obafemi Awolowo with a view to discovering his leadership qualities, traits, philosophy and style. It elaborates how his leadership approach aligns with various leadership theories as well as the application of these theories to him in order to identify fit (or lack of it) between theory and practice.
In order to establish criticality and make clear conclusions, this work conducted secondary research in the literature around leadership theories and applications. It also referred to documented evidence of the work and life of Obafemi Awolowo in the form of articles, academic study of his activities, archived interviews with him and others who worked closely with him. The conclusion establishes Awolowo’s authentic leadership and points out, through the life of the sage, the dynamic nature of the subject of leadership and why, even in today’s world, there seems to be no clear consensus among leadership theorists, even among protagonists of the same theories.
In today’s world, business owners and organizations are increasingly coming to terms with the effect of leadership on the motivation, output, and psychological disposition of their employees. A lot of investment is made towards the development of managers in order to improve their leadership skills and quality. The need to distinguish between leadership and management has arisen. Lunenburg’s (2011) elaboration of Kotter (1990) views of leadership describes a leader has one who develops a vision for the organization; effectively communicates that vision to stakeholders of that organization in order to get them aligned; and motivates stakeholders to takes actions towards a desirable end by fulfilling their basic needs and by empowering them. A manager on the other hand is involved with activities that include organizational planning and budgeting, organizing, recruitments, controlling and ensuring day to day problem solving. He further explains that the leadership process aims at creating uncertainty and change while the management process tries to minimize uncertainty and works towards organizational stability. These claims are also corroborated by Zaleznik (1986) who states that “managers and leaders are very different kinds of people. They differ in motivation, personal history, and in how they think and act”. Kotter (1995) further elaborates on the nature of a leader by stating that leaders who have successfully effected a change within an organization leverage on that success to tackle new and bigger challenges, especially those that do not conform to the vision they have for the organization. Fig. 1 Lunenburg’s Comparisons between Leadership and Management
Source: Lunenburg, F.C. (2011). Leadership versus Management: A Key Distinction—At Least in Theory.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT, BUSINESS, AND ADMINISTRATION VOLUME 14, NUMBER 1, 2011.
It is important, however, to underscore the complementary outlook to both leadership and management. Leaders require the skills inherent in management, especially interpersonal and organizational skills while managers also need to borrow leadership skills to motivate and inspire employees, and they also need to a good grasp of the concept of leadership. Not all theorists subscribe to the notion of a distinction between leadership and management. Henry Mintzberg, according to Moore (video, 2009) believes that “leadership and management are part and parcel of the same thing, they shouldn’t be separated in practice”. Kotter (video, 2012) however believes that exceptional leadership is required in today’s fast evolving world if business organizations do not want to stand the risk of complacency and slow growth. It is therefore important to review some of the efforts made by writers, in order to have a working understanding of the concept of leadership, in the least.
Leadership as a concept is the subject of an unending academic discourse. It also occupies the center stage in the corporate business world as well as in national polities. It is a herculean task to find an overarching definition of leadership, to which all stakeholders may subscribe. Warren Bennis, according to University of South Wales (2017), states that “to an extent leadership is like beauty: it’s hard to define, but you know it when you see it”. Sundi (2013) outlines Marno et.al’s (2008) definition of Leadership: ”Leadership is ability to convince and mobilize others to work together as a team under his leadership to achieve a certain goal” as well as Indrafachrudi’s (2006) definition: “Leadership is an activity to guide a group in such a way in order to reach goal”. Many other definitions recognize elements of leadership to include: influence, the individual exerting the influence, the group of individuals being influenced, and the goal or objective at the center of the whole process (Cole and Kelly, 2011; Northouse, 2013; 2010; Sundi, 2013). Some of these writer also assert that leadership is a process (Cole and Kelly, 2011; Northouse, 2013; 2010). This view runs contrary to the ideas of trait theory of leadership which suggests that leaders are born with and are endowed with leadership qualities. However the definition goes, the fact remains that importance of leadership is more pronounced today than a decade ago.
While globalization is a welcome idea, it poses a new set of challenges and uncertainties to business organizations and governments. The world now needs to come to terms with rapidly changing technologies and tools of trade. The business world is now very diverse in culture and outlook. Mergers are contracted across the line of culture, language and business philosophies, further contributing to the complexity of the competitive landscape (Hitt et al, 2010; University of South Wales, 2017). Leadership is therefore called to action.
According to University of South Wales (2017) account of Metcalf and Benn (2012) “leadership is necessary for corporate survival and helping organizations cope with the rapid changes and uncertainty in their industries and general environment”. Hitt et al (2010) calls for change within organizations in the face of a rapidly evolving business environment, fast changing means of communication and transportation which Harvey (1999) conveniently calls “Time-space compression”, and cultural diversity borne out of mergers. Effective leadership is therefore necessary to ensure the survival of business organizations. This, therefore, points in the direction of strategic leadership.
Strategic leadership focuses on helping executives and leaders understand global leadership dynamics and gain a new mindset and tools to create a clear global business strategy that will ensure the survival of their organizations. Strategic leaders understand the rudiments of different leadership approaches and are involved in the formulation and execution of global strategies for their organizations. They anticipate change and prepare to deal with these changes in ways that will sustain their organizations’ competitive edge University of South
2. LEADERSHIP THEORIES
There is so much interest in the subject of leadership. This fascination has naturally led to numerous research and studies, which are the foundation for theory formulations on the subject. To ensure clarity, it is important to categorize these theories and, indeed, many categories have arisen over the years. For the purpose of this work, leadership theories are categorized into traditional and contemporary theories. Traditional theories are those that were established before before or by 1980 while contemporary theories are those formulated after 1980. Alan Bryman made this distinction as shown in Houser’s (1993) review of his work “Charisma and Leadership in Organizations”. Other recent and more contemporary theories have emerged that take the peculiar nature of the 21st century business environment into consideration into consideration. These include the ethical leadership and authentic leadership theories.
2.1 Traditional Leadership Theories
2.1.1 Trait Theories
These theories are premised on the notion that leaders are ‘born, not made’. They argue that leadership is an inherent endowment and not developed through learning and observation. The great man theory believes that it is the destiny of some to leader and as such, they reborn with the. It appreciates innate endowments rather than skill developed through relationships and training. Both early and more recent researches have been done on the subject (Mann, 1959; Stogdill, 1948; Judge and Bono, 2004). However very little empirical data exists to support the theory. Avery et al (2007) takes a critical look at these theories and pointe out their simplistic outlook, lacking depth. It failed to take into account phenotypic influences on the leaders development. In their research using identical twins Avery et al (2007) recognize situational influences accounting for 70% of leadership emergence. Amanchukwu et al (2015) are of the opinion that the term great man is borne out of the expectations of a leader should have male. (Northouse, 2013) points out that the list of traits is endless and the failure to delimit the trait into a universally acceptable rate undermine the integrity of these theories. (Cole and Kelly, 2016) also underscored this failure by pointing out that non-leaders may also show these leadership traits
2.1.2 Behavioural Theory
This theory focuses on what leaders do, rather than on their traits. This way empirical data may be generated on the nature of leadership, which will eventually form the basis for teaching leadership. Leaders can then be made based on this transfer of knowledge. Under this theory, two underlying distinctions have been identified: task-oriented (Autocratic) behaviour (leadership preoccupation is task-related, such as delegating responsibilities and establishing deadlines); and relationship-oriented (democratic) behaviour (leadership is socially in touch with subordinates. The leader is willing to develop communication and encourage participation by employees) (Cole and Kelly, 2016). A third approach is possible under this theory, where the leader leaves the responsibility of making decisions to others and does not give subordinates any direction. This is called Laissez-faire (hands off) behaviour. Likert’s (1967) ‘four systems’ typology of leadership style is premised on the distinction between autocratic and democratic behavioural leadership theories with special attention given to how involved employees are in the decision making process.
Fig. 2 Likert’s (1967) leadership style typology.
Based on fear and threats
Decision making is centralised
Based on appropriate rewards
Two-way communication (limited upwards communication)
Decision making is decentralised (limited)
Based on rewards
Decision-making is centralised (may be some delegation)
Based on group participation
Decision making is decentralised
Source: Likert, R. (1967). The human organization: Its Management and Value. New York: McGraw-Hill
The participative leadership has been criticized as being inadequate in circumstances that require immediate and urgent decision making because it involves a lot of consultation which.
Two other theorist proposed other behavioural theories. Tannenbaum and Schmidt (1958) established the leadership continuum that flows from autocratic behaviour at one extreme to democratic behaviour at the other end, and inbetween is a stratification of leadership behavioural practices. Robert Blake and Jane Mouton (1964) as shown by University of South Wales (2017), uses a managerial grid to show leadership styles. They depict the y-axis as a concern for people and the x-axis as concern for production. Each plane is graduated from 1 to 9, making 81 positions possible on the grid. Each position signify different leadership style.
Fig. 3 Robert Blake and Jane Mouton (1964) Managerial Grid
Source: University of South Wales (2017) Topic – Overview: Leader-centric and Behavioural Theories of Leadership
Fig. 4 Table Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s (1958) Continuum of Leadership Behaviour
|Use of authority|
|by the manager|
|Area of freedom|
Manager Manager Manager Manager Manager Manager Manager and makes “sells” presents presents presents defines subordinates decision decision. decision tentative problem, limits; jointly make and and invites decision gets asks decision announces questions. subject suggestions, group within limits it. to change. makes to make defined by decision. decision. organisational constraints.
Source: Tannenbaum, R. & Schmidt, W. (1958) “How to choose a leadership pattern” Harvard Business Review
A critical view of the bevioural theories is taken by Alan Bryman as shown in Houser’s (1993) review of his work “Charisma and Leadership in Organizations” as well as Yulk (1994; 2010). They have opined that these theories have failed to show a direct connect between leaders’ style performance of their followers. Furthermore, the failure to define a universal behaviour fit for all-purpose make generalization of finding impossible and the finding did not consider situational conditions (University of South Wales, 2017).
2.1.3 Contingency Theory
The primary shortcoming of both trait theory and behavioral theory is the failure considers situational and circumstantial factors. Contingency theory evaluates leadership in the light of both individual and situational factors. It emphasizes the need to apply different leadership style as the situation demands within he organization. Fred Edward Fiedler’s ‘Leadership Contingency Model’ has become a household name in this regard, premised of the interplay of a leader’s personality and the prevailing operational situation he is faced with per time. Under this theory, there two leadership styles: task-motivate; and, relationshipmotivated. The Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) scale emphasizes that leadership effectiveness is dependent on both the leader’s style, and a few other factors: the relationship between the leader and his followers; the degree of power the leader wields; and, task structure in terms of clarity and empowerment to accomplish the task (University of South Wales, 2017). Critics of the theory include Graen (1971) who conducted 2 extensive research studies into this theory. “They concluded that none of the observed correlations for either study reached significance, and in second study, only 2 of the 7 correlations were in the hypothesized direction”. Their overall assessment of the theory using this studies cast doubts on the claims and application of the contingency model. Furthermore, Northhouse (2017) points the failure to adequately cater for situations where a mismatch arise between leader and situation.
2.2 Contemporary Theories of Leadership
Leaders in today’s world operate in business environments where crisis, and rapid change abound. Contemporary theories equip the leader with all that is necessary to rise up to these challenges. A good level of research is done around these theories affording empirical data to support the assertions of theorists and protagonists.
2.2.1 Charismatic Leadership
The personal and behavioural characteristics of the leader are the foundation of this leadership style. Through their ability to articulate and simplify organizational vision, these leaders bring inspiration and enthusiasm to the followers. House (1976), according to (University of South Wales, 2017) states that this phenomenon makes followers “identify with the vision and accept the leader’s values as their own”. This House’s theory of charismatic leadership explains the unique way charismatic leaders act that create charismatic effect on their followers. Other charismatic leadership theorists like Jacobsen et al (1992) state that followers actively consider the leaders’ behavior in a bid to attribute charisma to them. Formal authority is not a necessity for charismatic leaders in their quest to motivate subordinates toward better performance on the job. Epley (2015) in the study of Weber’s charismatic theory shows a distinction between charisma and charismatic leadership. Charisma is also a necessary ingredient in transformational leadership. This notion is corroborated by (Judge et al, 2004;
Bass, 1985; Diaz-Saenz, 2011)
Fig. 5 House’s theory of charismatic leadership
2.2.2 Transactional Leadership
The personal development of employees or subordinates is NOT the focus of transactional leadership. In actual facts, leaders tend to drive their agenda by the exchange of effort for reward. Subordinates have a clear understanding of what is required of them (Burns, 1978). They may also have an idea of the reward or punishment attached to meeting expectation or not. It is important to note that punishments are also well understood, even though not written in black and white. “In turn, transactional leadership allows followers to fulfill their own selfinterest, minimize workplace anxiety, and concentrate on clear organizational objectives such as increased quality, customer service, reduced costs, and increased production” (McCleskey, 2004).
Three components of this theory: corrective criticism, negative feedback and negative reinforcement are manifested in the form of (a) Active (Management by
Exception) – A close watch is kept on followers to detect violations and mistakes (b) Passive (Management by Exception) – Intervention is made employees perform below standards or when there are major problems, and (c) “laissez faire” – Responsibility of decision making is consciously or unconsciously handed over to the employees (Bass, 1985; 1997).
The absence of long-term sustainable relationships between the leader and followers is the main focus of criticism (Burns, 1978; McCleskey, 2004). The theory also does not take into account the circumstantial and situational factors that come with day-to-day organizational activities “a one-size-fits-all universal approach to leadership theory construction” (McCleskey, 2004; Yulk, 2010).
2.2.3 Transformational Leadership
This is the most popular and most researched leadership theory(Bass, 1985). The keyword in this theory is interaction. Transformational leadership thrives in atmosphere where the leader and follower interact with one another with the result being positive outcomes for the organization, including: better performance and increased productivity. Four closely related components are distinguishable in transformational theory: (a) Idealized influence – Leadership attains and maintains high moral and ethical standards thereby eliciting confidence and engender loyalty among subordinates; (b) Inspirational motivation – The Leaders vision is clear and unambiguous; his followers are confident and enthusiastic because he provides inspiration. (c) Intellectual stimulation – The leader help unleash the creative endowments of followers waking them up to be innovative. He does this by seeking to change the status quo within the organization; (d) Individualised consideration – The leader seeks and puts in place everything necessary towards the personal and professional development of followers. He provides mentoring to subordinates and maintains a solid channel of consultation with them (Bass, 1985; 1997). Charisma is the correlating factor of both Idealized influence and Inspirational motivation. This is need for a transformational leader in the bid to align individual followers ambition and outlook with those of the organization. The positions of Bass (1985) on transformational leadership are note worthy. He pointed out how the leaders theory helps the follower develop towards being a leader. He described a continuum in which transactional leadership and transformational leadership are at the tow extremes, thereby inferring to the application of transformational theory to negative outcome. He also underscores the place of charisma as a “necessary but not sufficient condition for Transformation Leadership” (University of South Wales, 2017).
Fig. 6 Bass 1985 Additive Model of Transformational Leadership
Source: University of South Wales (2017) Topic 7 – Overview Contemporary Theories in Leadership
Fig. 7 Additive Effect of Transformational Leadership
Source: University of South Wales (2017) Topic 7 – Overview Contemporary Theories in Leadership
3. OBAFEMI AWOLOWO
Philip Emeagwali – Africa’s most celebrated computer scientist – set out in 2004 to identify and categorize the 100 greatest Africans of all time, living and dead, he came up with a captivating list of Africa’s very best. Conspicuously on the list is the name of Nigeria’s most celebrated nationalist and elder stateman, Chief Jeremiah Oyeniyi Obafemi Awolowo, whose leadership role in both preindepence and post-independence Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized (Emeagwali, 2004). Obafemi Awolowo will forever be dear to the teeming people of Nigeria. His outstanding performance as the first and most successful premier of Western Nigeria will never be forgotten (Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, 2017).
Obafemi Awolowo was born in the year 1909, to David and Mary Awolowo in
Ikenne, Remo district, South West Nigeria (Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, 2017). He began his education at St. Saviour’s School, Ikenne, and later proceeded to Imo Wesleyan School, Abeokuta. The sudden loss of his father in 1920 meant he had to stop schooling for lack of funding Awolowo took the bull by the horns started the sale of firewood to pay his way through school. He also had to do odd jobs to make ends meet (Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, 2017).
He proceeded to Wesley teacher training College, Ibadan in 1927, and through persistence and harwork much got an admission into the prestigious University of London where he studied bagged 2 degrees, in commerce and law. The Society of the inner temple called him to Bar in 1946 (Obafemi Awolowo Foundation,
On 26th December 1937 Obafemi Awolowo took Hannah Adelana to the altar for a wife on 26th December, 1937. Between then, they had 5 children. Obafemi Awolowo was an experienced schoolteacher. He also had a go at stenography and new reporting. It was at Ibadan that he delved into the mainstream of business, buying produce as well as transport business. It was also at Ibadan that his political journey began as the Nigeriam Youth Movement’s secretary. This was all before he went to
London for his law degree program.
Upon his return from London in 1949, the “Egbe Omo Oduduwa” cultural group was formed. Later in 1951, the Action Group, (AG)political party was formed. This party began to gain popularity immediately; winning with a land slide in the maiden elections of Western Nigeria. Thus the first elected government in the Western Region kicked off in 1952 with Obafemi Awolowo as leader Government Business and Minister for Local Government. He became the first Premier of the Western Region in 1954. A consecutive victory at the polls in 1956 saw him retaining the Premiership. In 1959, he willingly relinquished the post to allow him get involved at the House of Representatives where he became the Leader of Opposition in Nigeria’s central legislature.
He was an enemy to mediocrity and complacency in government, and began to put plans in place for a more glorious Nigeria. These plans were perceived as a threat to the agend of some politicians who plotted his downfall. He was jailed for 10 years in in 1963 under controversial circumstances. With Awolowo out of circulation, a leadership crisis emerged and new, strange wave of corruption and bad governance set in. Nigeria was now at the point of collapse and the military took over the reigns of governance. The new government release Awolowo from prison to assume the position of Vice Chairman in the Federal administration doubling as commisoner for finance and the manager of the federal governments’ war efforts. He was managed the war efficiently and was ready with a development plan to put the nation back on track. With these plans in motion, he disengaged from the government.
Awo went into mainstream politics in 1978 When Nigeria’s Armed Forces lifted the ban on civilian participation in politics in September 1978, Nigerians who believed in his vision and ideology..
Obafemi Awolowo was a prolific writer whose thoughts from as early as 1946 have been documented. He’s a man that possesses great foresight and vision. He brought great reforms to the local government system in Western Nigeria. The system was geared towards achieve within 5 years a string of “Firsts” in the history of Africa. Awolowo motivated his people to take up reigns of responsibility. He guided towards innovation.
His government had the most efficient Civil Service in Black Africa; introduced and successfully implemented the first Free Primary Education programme in Africa; introduced and successfully managed the first Free Medical Service programme in Nigeria – for children up to the age of 18; established the first Television Station in Africa; built the Liberty Stadium, the first such modem sports facility in Nigeria; introduced and successfully implemented the first minimum wage policy in Nigeria and actually paid to Western Nigerians from October 1954 a minimum wage that was double the amount paid to workers of the same level in some other parts of Nigeria; set up Nigeria’s first industrial complex at Ikeja; set up Nigeria’s first commercial Housing Estates at Ikeja and Bodija, Ibadan. Besides these, Chief Awolowo’s government had laid the foundation for development in commerce and industry by creating an efficient Western Nigeria Development Corporation, the ancestor of the present-day O’dua Investment Company; taken successful bold steps to revolutionise the production and marketing of cocoa by farmers in Western Nigeria; and created the infrastructure for rural development by promoting 900 cooperative societies in about 3 years and by providing within
5 years almost 10 times as many miles of road as he inherited from the British administration.
(Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, 2017).
By fulfilling his election promises to his people with just a few years, He had set precedence. The electorate in Western Nigeria would hold every civil office aspirant to their word and promises. He had forever endeared himself to their heart. Above all, he had broken the shackles of ignorance. Today in Nigeria, the legacy of Chief Obafemi Awolowo lives on. He led his people, and he is still leading, even in death.
4. THE MAN WITH A PLAN
According to late Chief Bola Ige, a one time governor of Oyo state, South West
Nigeria who worked closely with Obafemi Awolowo, Awolowo always had a plan. As a nationalist and foremost Nigerian federalist, he had ready plans on just about anything (Ige, 2009). These plans are the basis upon which the evaluation of his leadership style will be based.
Awolowo had a vision, like all other transformational leaders. His vision was to see a united, prosperous Nigeria. His first move was to work with other progressives to ensure an independent nation. His action group AG was at the center of these activities from 1951. Awolowo expected that other regions would recognize his efforts and follow in like fashion. By 1954, Western Nigeria with her provinces was elevated to a federating unit. As the promise of an independent nation became clearer, he began to push for self-rule in the west, which he secured in 1957. It was then time to motivate and raise the morale of the nation towards rapid development and growth in preparation for independence.
Awolowo had only two things to prove himself: (a) The platform of a Western Nigeria under self-rule with him as Premier; (b) His leadership qualities. All components of Transformational Leadership were demonstrated in his bid to achieve his goals. First he had to get his people of the west to buy into and align with his vision. With his Charisma and eloquence, the quest for a free universal primary education began. Adewara (‘video’, 2013a) documents how 10000 schools were built to cater for the primary education 400000 children across the west. He went on to proclaim that all children living in the west regardless of their tribe or region of origin must be enrolled. The people were so inspired that some gave up their homes, churches and mosques as classrooms in situations where classrooms were still under construction. Awolowo satisfied the components of transformational leadership including: Idealized influence, Inspirational motivation, Intellectual stimulation, and Individualized consideration according to Bass (1985; 1997).
Adewara (‘video’, 2013b) documents Awolowo’s efforts at the pre-independence constitutional conference of 1958 where he canvassed for true federalism, the only system of governance that will ensure all federating units of the nation are well represent and their prosperity assured. With his eloquence and charisma, he proposed an initial workable date to declare Nigeria’s independence. He exuded the qualities of a born leader including Intelligence Insight Responsibility Initiative
Persistence Self-confidence Sociability according to (Mann, 1959; Stogdill, 1948; Judge and Bono, 2004).
Adewara (‘video’, 2013b) further shows the next phase of Awolowo’s vision for the west and by extension Nigeria. He established the first television service in Africa. According to the documentary, this was done to project culture and to enhance learning and education. Awolowo’s vision was taking shape. He went on to show the world that something great could come of out of Africa. He pioneered numerous projects that saw to the development and prosperity of Western Nigeria including first indigenous university, free health services, first sports stadium in Nigeria and first agro-trade center known as a “cocoa house”, which was the tallest building in the country at the time, and is still the tallest in Ibadan, the old capital of the west, till now. He managed all this without any external borrowing and went on to establish, at that time, a minimum wage regime which was higher than those of other regions of the nation.
5. AWOLOWO: ETHICS AND AUTHENTICITY
These more contemporary leadership theories may also be applied to Obafemi Awolowo. There is a lot of focus on other components of Transformational leadership, so much so that the subject of ethics is given little attention (Cohen, 1995). Transformational Leadership also demands leaders and followers to live up to moral and ethical expectations (Burns, 1978). Issue bothering on ethics violation in recent times have gingered interest in the subject.
Authenticity is founded on selflessness. Authentic leaders are always looking out for the common good of their organization. While there are authentic transformation leaders, there are also pseudo-transformational leader. Price (2003) established a framework to distinguish the two. The framework identifies three forms of inauthentic leadership: Base; incontinent; and, opportunistic Awolowo was both and ethical and authentic leader. In 1957, a member of the Action Group delegate to a conference in London was ill from a long standing festibulo neurosis. He had to visit the hospital and demanded for money for treatment from the party’s purse. Awolowo had the following to tell him – “Alfredo, among all the delegates to this conference, you are the closest to me. Your indisposition is not as a result of your attendance of this conference.” He did this to forestall precedence where delegates will abuse their offices and demand for money at the slighted opportunity. He later contributed in part to the delegates treatment from his personal purse. Obafemi Awolowo affirmed his authenticity as a leader in so many ways. In 1951, Awolowo rejected the proposed federal system which he termed as “very light one because it was unbearably restrictive and obstructive in operation with some of its provisions patently contradictory to the principles and norms of federalism” (The Guardian, 2015). This gave rise to a series of constitutional conferences at which true federalism was established and “power sharing between the central and the regional governments; that the regions should be truly autonomous from the central government in respect of subjects under the residual powers” (The Guardian, 2015).
Fig. 8 Price’s (2003) distinction between authentic-transformational and pseudo-transformational Leadership
Source: Sciencedirect http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S104898430200187X
The importance of leadership cannot be over-emphasized. In this age of globalization coupled with the fasted evolving corporate environments ever known to man, organizations and, indeed, polities are at a grave danger of losing competitive edge. The solution to this dilemma lies in the hands of leaders at all level. Organizations are now saddled with the responsibility of finding these leaders or building up the capabilities that make these leaders essential in their
Transformational leaders are needed in business, civil service and in government. They are needed in our schools, on our farms and in our hospitals.
Every sector needs them. These leaders must attain the highest level of motivation and moral. They must be ethical both in their outlook and on the playing field. Authenticity must be ensured. Transformational leaders must keep their focus on the goal. In their bid to challenge the status quo, they must work assiduously towards bringing maximum benefits to their followers and an ultimately, their organization.
Obafemi Awolowo’s leadership profile was enumerated in this work. He was a transformational leader par excellence, possessing the ability to turn around the fortune of a nation for the better with a grand vision of the future. He possessed a charisma that was ages beyond those of his peers, and carried a vision that was beyond his time. His legacy is still evident all over the nation of Nigeria. No wonder his archrival in the bitter and unnecessary civil war called him “The best president Nigeria never had”
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