It appears this is an election year for most of the Chess Federations. But let me salute the new Namibia Chess Federation president, Israel Shilongo, who is president of his federation at the gossamer age of 26. Very inspiring, a leader who has started leading with a difference, and I will also crosscheck if this deserves a place among the “Wonders of Africa Chess Achievements”. As usual, a lot of fighting occurs ahead of Fide elections, well, maybe because there is so much at stake as per the leadership of the continents.
Leadership may be misleading. It looks attractive indeed, because people only see the posh side of leaders. They see them enjoy external travels, or if at all, having some benefits. It applies to every leader. But people are unaware of the sacrifices great leaders make just to keep things going… the sleepless nights, headaches, insults, loss of friends, the pressures etc, the list is endless. For one to be a great leader one must have great passion for what they are doing, otherwise when the going gets tough, one may leave the shovel in the middle of the field.
Leadership is not the position. You can be in a position yet have no followers. Great leaders have followers who decide at their own free will to follow them.
Leaders are supposed to inspire people to do the things that seem impossible to attain. To those that knew Napoleon the great, his presence in the battle field was worth 40,000 soldiers. He built confidence in his soldiers by making them see themselves mightier than they really were. Not just by talk, but with action too.
Again, about the great Napoleon, he knew most of the soldiers by name. True, a leader must have an interest in the people he is leading to make a great impact in their lives. Make surprise calls, listen to their grievances, in other words, be approachable and know what matters to each of your subjects. It is only then, that you can know how best to motivate them.
The Bible says, God humbles himself from the throne of heaven to understand the affairs of the sons of men (paraphrased).
Honesty is also a great virtue of a leader. Always be clear. People do not put a leader into a position, they put a character they can associate with into the position. People are able to know fake character and real character. A person may have weaknesses, but if they know he/she is of good character, they put him in the position he/she is needed for. Ever listened to this hit of the oldies “I see your true colors, that’s why I love you….”.
But on the whole, it does not really matter what your position is, you can also lead and contribute a whole lot from the middle, even more than the ones at the helm (you do not have to be at the helm to make a difference). If you are an Arbiter, be the best Arbiter, If you are Coordinator for School chess, if you are a coach, if you are head of online chess, put in your best there. Play your role to the best of your ability, as if you are serving God with the service to your fellow man. Have a sense of responsibility that your failure will lead the team to a loss.
The greatest gift you can give to your leaders is to support them, their ideas and jelp them find ways to succeed in their position as leader. Help them wherever and whenever you can. Give them sponsorship links. You do not have to wait for them to make mistakes so that you critique them. If there are any issues, amicably inbox them with love.Then we will be a great chess world.
Do something for your leader today!