Is Barak Obama enjoying the loftiest leadership stage any leader can reach? What about Nelson Mandela? Who between the two has reached the highest leadership stage? How can we know this? How do the leaders gain public fame? How did they take on the stage of public arena? Is there some defining moments that demarcate the leaders' walk to public arena? If indeed there can be such moments, can these moments be captured? If so, can they be lessons for current and future leaders? What can current and future leaders learn from such moments? Yes, there are indeed defining moments and, these defining moments can be traced and captured. Besides, they can be used as learning lessons to current and upcoming leaders.
The loftiest leadership stage in the ten defining moments in leadership is Entitlement, when a leader has gained the public fame. The other stages stretching from when a leader is virtually unknown to when he or she is widely known are Emptiness, Experimental, Experiential, Endeavour, Engagement, Endorsement, Endearment, Endowment, Entrenchment, and the loftiest, Entitlement stage.
Whether positive or negative, fame is seen as increasing at the same level as the influence a leader exerts in the public domain. Thus, the more a leader is known and recognised, the more he or she exerts influence to the led. This simply means that if a leader is not known, his or her influence is small or none-existent. If he or she is a known public figure, his or her influence is great. In this way, a leader is able to affect the public agenda even more. With the ten stages, the book traces the leaders' life's journey from the time a leader is virtually unknown to when he or she becomes a household name. It traces the struggles, the huddles, the joys, the power and glory, of each stage, as well as the temptation accompanying each stage along the way. The book can be used as a leadership mirror to evaluate where the leader currently is, where he or she is going, and what such a leader needs to do as well as avoid during the current stage. The book also prepares a leader of what to expect in the next leadership and subsequent stages.
Why base leadership on fame? Simply put, a leader can simply be described as a dealer with people. At every level, from the home front to the national and indeed international front, leaders affect people either positively or negatively and many time a mixed grill of both. People rejoice when good leadership is in place or likewise mourn when the bad leadership is in place. Therefore, one cannot divorce leadership with follower-ship, and in the latter is where people are. For good or for worse the higher one climbs in the leadership ladder, the more people one affects, influences and touches. This means a man with a wife and three kids will adversely affect his family if that is the only influence he has. A business leader with a thousand people under him or her will adversely affect those people, and so will a president with a country of thirty million people. Then there are those leaders who have no geographical borders. They are bound to affect very many people in one way or another, for good or for worse.
Leaders everywhere occupy one of the ten stages of leadership ladder. The ten stages are further divided into four phases. Phase one is known as survival phase when the cup of fame is empty.
Phase two is known as success, a phase of relative fame when the cup of fame is half-empty. The third phase is called Success-Significance when a leader is enjoying wide fame, thus the cup of fame is full to the brim. The fourth and last, the highest leadership can go, is called Significance phase when the cup of fame is overflowing cup and the leader enjoys wider fame. Let us see this one further:
Emptiness - A LEADER WITH A FLEDGING VISION & UNTESTED VIRTUE
Phase one is known as survival phase-The empty Cup of Fame. This phase has three stages, Emptiness, Experimental and Experiential.
The first stage of section 1 entitled Survival- The empty cup of Fame is Emptiness. This is a stage where and when a leader is little or not known at all. Both the position such a leader holds and influence he or she wields is limited or non-existent. It is when a leader holds only a fledging vision in mind and untested virtue at heart. This stage is promising, has all potential, but troubles abound and hindrances abide. Nothing but hope and faith is vested in such a leader, hope that he or she will make something out of his or her life or will turn out to be or somebody in the society, and faith that he or she will not disappoint. Therefore, the ‘public' expectation of a leader in such a stage is courageous leadership.
Experimental - A LEADER TESTING THE WATERS
Two words form the basis of the second stage called Experimental stage. The words are ‘try' and ‘risk' because the stage has bottlenecks which include uncertainty and let downs, misunderstandings and threat posing, rejections and regrets. Well, these are enough to keep the leader's diary full and his or her life occupied. But with all the odds in this stage, and though they do not come easily, there are payoffs as well. This includes baby steps and vision test, exploiting the unexplored potential, knocking doors, building networks and collecting a basketful of learning experiences. This is the stage where the public expect authentic leadership, enough to overcome the let downs on the way to public leadership.
Experiential - A LEADER TASTING THE FRUITS
The third and last stage in this first phase is called Experiential. This when and where a leader tastes the fruits of his or her labour. The bottlenecks include intense competition as well as a leader settling on laurels by reducing the vision originally cast. It is in this stage that the road branches somewhere, one fork of that road leads to virtue, and the other expediency. This throws such a leader in a dilemma of which to choose from the two forks of the road. Will the leader choose virtue or expediency? This presents a crisis to the leader for both of them offer opportunities or danger. Having been in the field of leadership and having built some following, people's expectations towards such a leader are rising. The most important expectation is that a leader in such a calibre shows some principle standards in all his or her dealings.
Endeavour - A LEADER FORGING ON
Phase two is known as success -The Half-Empty Cup of Relative Fame. This phase has two stages, the Endeavour and Endorsement. Though both the position and influence are on the increase, position is still greater than influence. Because of this, a leader in this phase is therefore ruling.
This phase begins with Endeavour stage, when a leader feels that enough is not enough and decides to move on in leadership ladder. The first characteristic in this stage is that the leader has more than enough, described as successful and that both the position and influence of a leader is on the increase and the leader is desirous to leave a mark in his or her leadership. But there are at least three bottlenecks in this stage, the naked and un-tempered ambition and greed and grabbing as well as the urge to exterminate or at least smoothen out the enemies on the way. The public expect a leader in the endeavour stage to offer integrity leadership, much needed at this stage.
Endorsement - A LEADER GAINING PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE
Overall the fifth stage, second stage in this phase is known as Endorsement a stage where and when a leader is gaining public acceptance. The dangers in this stage involve setting a secure leadership base or solidify this endorsement for he or she may still feel insecure and in so doing take the path of revenge, settling scores on personal vendetta, surrounding self with cronies, rewarding those who helped the leader up as well as taking people for granted. Opportunities of Endorsement Leadership include proving his or her saltiness and building bridges and mending walls as well as seizing this opportunity to serve the people who voted or put him or her there. Therefore, the led expect such a leader to offer responsible leadership.
Engagement - A LEADER GETS SOMETHINGTO DO
The third phase is called Success-Significance- The full to the Brim cup of Wide Fame and contains Engagement, Endearment and Endowment stages. For the first time, the leader's influence surpluses his or her position.
In the Engagement stage, a leader is engaged, he or she gets something to do. His or her diary is full. The stage is transactional in nature, that is, there is a business-like transaction taking place between the leader and the led. Therefore, there are discussions, communication, concessions, and mutual agreements reached between the two parties. However, transaction work well when every party plays their part and work wrongly when one does not play his or her part well. Transactions being in the business world, it follows the characteristics of misuses found in that world, like underhand and shady deals, as well as breaking promises and lack of integrity. Three requirements needed in this stage are, the minimum requirement, the leader keeping the promise, the optimum requirement, the leader uplifting the virtue of integrity, and, the maximum requirement, the leader raising the level of leadership offered in this stage from transactional to transformational. Taken together, the public expectations of leaders in this phase are public accountability, positive influence, and a show of integrity. The public expectations of leaders in the Engagement stage are transformational leadership, a more superior leadership than mere transactional one.
Endearment - PEOPLE'S EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO A LEADER
The seventh stage is Endearment stage. While the fifth stage, the Endorsement stage was rather rational in nature, Endearment one goes beyond that to involve and invoke the emotional side of people. In Endearment, people exhume great love and pride and admiration of their leader. However, this may produce the flip side situation where the leader yearns to consolidate all the adoration directed to him or her and yearn to remain the centre of attention. The public expectation of Endearment stage is to offer steward leadership. Thus, their main responsibility and test of leadership to be effective and faithful stewards of the resources they have been entrusted with and the greatest resource being people themselves.
Endowment - A LEADER CROWNED BY THE PEOPLE
The eighth stage of leadership and fame is Endowment stage, a very high stage indeed and prone to all kinds of dangers and vanities. Crowned by the people either by votes or by increase of customer or client base, or even fans, the next stage, the Endowment leader, believes he or she has special knowledge to lead, and thus taken as a gift of God to the people and not the other way round, is a beneficiary and not the other way round, can enter in the realm of metaphysics and not the other way round. The feeling of nuli secundus, the Latin word for second-to-none may dominate in such a leader. This builds the leader's greatest weakness. Such leaders can capture leadership opportunities by serving a higher cause, and giving people glory. People's expectations of their leaders increase at every level, and become more serious. People expect empowerment leadership, a kind that will improve their lot, not that kind of leadership that will only enrich the leader.
Entrenchment - A LEADER IN PEOPLE'S PHYSIC
The fourth and last, the highest leadership can go, is called Significance phase- The overflowing cup of Wider Fame which contains two stages, the Entrenchment and the Entitlement stage. While Endorsement stage leaders were approved rationally, and Endearment types approved emotionally, the ninth stage of leadership, Entrenchment stage, leaders' transcendence beyond all these and enter into peoples' physic. This means that such leaders has too great influence that even if they leave the position of leadership, without use of force or arms they still influence any decision to be taken or made.
For good or for bad, Entrenchment leaders are very hard to replace and the obvious gap exists between them and any thought replacement. For good or for bad again, everything around these leaders is public. Holding the world to the sway of their influence and power, and using their larger than life space, if these leaders climbed all the way while they are dwarfed inside, they can misuse this honoured position of leadership in more ways than one. The potential and real danger surround Entrenchment leaders are insecurity and power abuse, moral compromise and lapse, breaking of rules, pride, vanity, fantasy and fanaticism all rolled into one. Such can subsequently combine to produce false beliefs in a leader which can lead to the dangers of human rights violations. On the positive side, Entrenchment leaders' influence is so great that their virtues are felt widely and deeply. They should serve the high office better doing two things, one serving the people, and two, mentoring others in leadership. This is encapsulated in shepherd leadership expected of them by the public.
Entitlement - A LEADER TAKEN AS A GIVEN
When the queen of Sheba parked her train caravans full of gold, camels and precious stones and crossed over from Egypt to Jerusalem to see for herself of the fame she heard of King Solomon, she was responding to King Solomon's last form of leadership, Entitlement leadership, a leadership that makes other kings and queens travel far and wide to witness for themselves the glory associated it. This last and highest stage of leadership rides on greatest fame, greatest power and loftiest glory.
However, even such a leader can be larger than life but internally dwarfed. Some of the characteristics of such a leadership are pride, aloofness and a don't care attitude, manipulating and misusing people, squandering state or business resources and, smoothening his or her way through by removing opposition and competition on the way. His or her conscience may die and can transcend from a fellow human being to a demi-god. Once these leaders consistently maintain the negative trends of leadership, they have a final and permanent place for them to go in history- back into permanent and irredeemable obscurity.
In such a high position as this, leaders ought to have nothing to prove or lose, nothing to hide or hold back and, at the same time everything give and gain. Even as people offer them permanent entitlement for leadership, the best Entitlement leaders can do is to have no entitlement on their side. They should portray a sense of selflessness as they lead people. Virtues like to nurture and mentor new leaders, to help humanity, to empower others and to leave a positive, lasting legacy are virtues that such leaders are expected to maintain while in such a stage in leadership. The overall public expectations of this phase are a showcase of more wisdom and model to them, portray more of genuine humility and service, shower more praise and appreciation to people struggling with hard life and concerns and, probably a culmination or a combination of all, a more display of greatness that kisses goodness. This is a leadership that can rightly be called servant leadership.