Lessons from the Life of Dr Ernest Azudialu (Part 5)
Scenario: During this holiday apprenticeship under his father, Ernest also learnt how to write invoices and this he began to do quite well from his class one. As he spent time in his father’s shop he began to seek ways to transform the business the same way he had transformed his mother’s hawking business. He also noticed that his father, because of lack formal education was not only unable to read and write, but also had trouble counting money and adding up figures. Therefore, Ernest decided to help him as much as he could. Another issue that bothered him was the fact that his father bought his goods from middle men. Ernest was of the opinion that the business would improve if the middlemen were cut off and products purchased directly from the manufacturers. He raised this issue with his father who explained that he would be able to do that if he was educated but that his lack of education had him incapacitated in that regard. Ernest never one to look for reasons but results took the packing of the products his father sold copied out the addresses and began to write the manufacturers. The manufacturers replied and sent goods directly to Ernest’s father for sale and even went a step further to travel down to Nigeria to pay a visit to Ernest and his father. After this visit Ernest’s father’s business moved to another level, as goods were coming in from England directly.
Lesson: leaders do not make or accept excuses. They always look for a way to get what they want. Leaders are observant so they usually see things that others miss. In his book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, John C. Maxwell talks about The Law of Intuition. Here he says, “Leaders Are Readers of Their Situation – leaders pick up on details that might elude others. They sense people’s attitudes. They are able to detect the chemistry of a team. They know the situation before they have all the facts.” Also, leaders seek ways to bring transformation. John C. Maxwell’s The Law of Addition says, “Leaders add value by serving others.” leaders do not leave things the way they meet them. Ernest did not leave his father’s business at the level he met it. Leaders are agents of change.
Lessons from the Life of Dr Ernest Azudialu (Part 4)
Scenario: One day, something unusual happened. Ernest and Emmanuel were moving about in the bush trying to locate the cherry tree when they noticed a wild animal not too far from where they stood. It was not in the same class as the animals that they were used to and so they could not identify it except to say that it was a wild animal. Ernest noticed the fear in his brother’s posture and was certain that he would scream out and draw the animal’s attention. He quickly covered Emmanuel’s mouth even as he dragged him to hide behind a tree. Fortunately, the animal did not see them and went its way.
Lesson: Leaders require courage to achieve their vision as there are always wild animals lurking around on the journey to vision accomplishment. Great leaders recognise this truth and as such they remain calm in the face of danger. In his book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, John C. Maxwell lists courage as one of the top six ways that leaders gain respect. According to him, “Good leaders do what’s right, even at the risk of failure, in the face of great danger and under the brunt of relentless criticism.” And in “The 21 Qualities of a Leader”, he lists courage amongst the qualities a leader should have. He says, “One person with courage is a majority.”
Lessons from the Life of Dr Ernest Azudialu (Part 3)
Scenario: As the war progressed, Ernest showed signs of being a brave child. There was a practice in his family during this period, as early as 5am, the entire extended family would go out to pick cherry fruits that had dropped under the tree. They went out and returned home in a group. Ernest was not satisfied with this arrangement. He wanted to get more cherries for himself and his immediate family and decided to go out on his own to pick the cherry fruits before anyone got up. As early as 3am, while it was still dark and everyone was in bed, he would wake his younger brother Emmanuel and together they would go out to pick the cherry fruits and sneak back quietly to the house and lie down before it was time for the group to go out and pick the fruits. That way they got a double portion since they picked twice, while others picked once.
Lesson: Leaders do not wish for what they want, rather, they work for it. They understand that wishes are useless and they know too well the popular proverb that if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. They understand that if you want anything you must go out and get it as wishing will leave you at the same spot but working will always bring you one step closer to your desire. Leaders like Ernest know that nothing of value drops in your lap and you have to be willing to experience some personal inconvenience to get it. Ernest went out at a time of the day when people were still in their beds and adults would be afraid to step out (and rightly so). But leaders like Ernest understand that while it is okay to be afraid it is not okay to let fear lead you by determining what you can and cannot do and when you do it. Men like Ernest do what they do in spite of fear. They are like the airplane that takes off against the wind.
Lessons from the Life of Dr Ernest Azudialu (Part 2)
Scenario: One day, there was an incidence that would have cost young Ernest his life. His mother, Mary, with a baby on her back, and Ernest in tow, boarded a canoe from Okija to her farm at Ufesi. As the journey progressed, water gradually entered the boat. Ernest, began to scoop the water out of the boat with his hands. The other passengers who presumed that the boat would capsize jumped out and lost their lives. However, Mary, Ernest, and the baby on Mary’s back remained in the boat and were preserved because eventually, the boat did not capsize.
Lesson: Leaders do not abandon ship at the first sign of trouble. They are not quitters. Leaders have the mental strength to stay on long after everyone else has thrown in the towel. The ship may be a dream, an idea, or an organisation. When things go wrong and the ship begins to sink, the leader looks for ways to save the ship and everyone in it. Followers take the first escape route to save themselves. However, leaders are usually selfless so their immediate preoccupation is to rescue the entire ship and everyone in it from going under. Also, leaders use what is available and waste no time lamenting what is unavailable. Ernest used his hands to scoop water out of the boat. That was all he had and he put it to use.
Lessons from the Life of Dr Ernest Azudialu (Part 1)
Scenario: Ernest was about seven years old when the Nigerian Civil War started. He endured hardship with his mother who would go to Ufesi a neighbouring village to cultivate cassava and other food seedlings and then proceed to Urasi area to fetch water. Ernest joined her in these tasks. Some days, his mother would go to the farm alone as Ernest was required at home to prepare meals for his siblings and mind them in his mother’s absence. As a young child Ernest was a blessing to his mother. He was very diligent in carrying out his house chores and his mother could depend on him to assist her in looking after his younger siblings.
Lesson: Very often people ask the question, “Are leaders born or made?” My response is this; everyone is born but leaders are made. And leaders are made by responsibility; especially from an early age and with something as simple as house chores. The child who is taught to take responsibility for himself and others from an early age will grow up naturally taking responsibility for others. And leadership is all about taking responsibility, first for oneself and then for others. Ernest did not only take responsibility for himself at an early age, he also took responsibility for his siblings. In John Maxwell’s book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, the leadership guru talks about The Law of Process. This law states that leadership develops daily and not in a day. Also, leaders are reliable and dependable. And they do not require supervision in the discharge of the tasks that have been assigned to them.
Scripture Passage: John 8:12
The Leader Who is Sure of His Identity Will Declare the Same Boldly
Jesus knew who He was and He was not afraid to say it. In front of His enemies, He declared, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but he shall have the light of life.”
The lesson here is this; the leader who is sure of his identity will declare the same boldly. Never follow a leader who does not know who he is. The reason being that the leader who does not know who he is does not know where he should go. He may very well be on the wrong path with you in tow. His vision is questionable because identity and purpose are linked. But when a leader is certain of his identity, he is certain of his path and certain of what awaits his followers. And he declares it to all with boldness. He is not guessing. He knows.
Prayer: Father, help me to find myself in you.
Scripture Passage: John 8:1-11
In Other to Deal Fairly Leaders Must Beware of Double Standard
One morning, while Jesus was in the temple, the Pharisees and Sadducees brought Him a woman they claimed had been taken in the very act of adultery. They wanted to stone her according to the law. However, Jesus saw their double standard. They had brought the woman to be punished but set free her accomplice, the man. So, He said, “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Jesus could have taken their side, but He knew it would be double standard to punish one offender while the other walked free.
The lesson here is this; in other to deal fairly, leaders must beware of double standard. If a leader is unfair, he will create division amongst his own team. And if a leader will be fair he must hear all sides of a story. He must punish all offenders, equally. He must not have a sacred cow that cannot be touched.
Prayer: Father, help me to be fair in my dealings with all.
Scripture Passage: John 7:1-9
Leaders Recognise the Importance of Timing
When Jesus refrained from attending the Feast of Tabernacles, his brothers mocked Him saying, “Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.” His response was very profound. He said, “My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.”
The lesson here is this; leaders recognise the importance of timing. Others may rush ahead without giving a thought to timing, but a leader waits for the right time to act. For this reason, leaders are able to produce better results. Leaders know also that the timing of another is not necessarily their timing. Therefore, they do not act when others act or because others act or think that they should act. They wait for their time and only then do they take action.
Prayer: Father, help me to know when to act.
Scripture Passage: John 6:1-6
Leaders Know What to Do
On a certain day, Jesus and His team were faced with the challenge of feeding a multitude. The Bible says, “When Jesus…saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.” There was a challenge, but Jesus, the leader, knew what to do.
The lesson here is this; leaders know what to do. This is because the leader has first made the journey, at least in his mind, before he takes anyone else with him. Therefore, he is never stranded. He knows the road well. He has travelled it before. At every cross road, he knows which way to turn. That is why he is the leader. When the children of Israel were trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea, Moses their leader, under the inspiration of God, the ultimate leader, asked them to go forward.
Prayer: Father, help me to know what to do always.
Scripture Passage: John 5:1-9
Leaders Focus on the Solution and not the Problem
When Jesus met the man who had been at the pool of Bethesda, thirty-eight years, He asked a simple question; “wilt thou be made whole?” Rather than respond in the affirmative, the man began to tell Jesus about his problems. Firstly, he had no man to help him. Secondly, someone always stepped in the water before him. Jesus could have joined the pity party by encouraging him to talk on about his problems. But instead, He offered a solution to the problem by saying, “rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
The lesson here is this; leaders focus on the solution and not the problem. Followers focus on problems. They whine and complain about what is lacking, like the man at the pool of Bethesda. They make excuses for their lack of results. But leaders are interested only in solutions. They do not waste time discussing problems. Rather they invest time seeking ways to resolve problems, using what is available.
Prayer: Father, give me wisdom to resolve problems.