“Everything rises and falls on leadership,” says John Maxwell. The histories of great empires, nations and organizations cannot be recounted without the mention of some great leaders who spearheaded them. They were ordinary people who never shelved their convictions; these personalities believed in their people, got involved and with clear focus led their people to achieve great things.
As I watched the football game between Manchester City and Leicester City on the Monday 6th May, 2019, the dramatic turn of events brought into sharp focus the famous quote of John C. Maxwell, I had to pause many times to reflect as the game progresses. I viewed the game with a soft spot for the latter, thinking a win or a draw for them will keep Liverpool at the summit of the English Premier League. I have been rooting for Liverpool to win the league this year, as their performance during the season has been phenomenal. They have come too close to winning the league in the last decade but the league title has eluded them in the dying embers of a couple of seasons. I say to myself, “not this season!”
Vincent Kompany, the leader of the Manchester City team on the pitch concerning the match in question was the man of the day and an epitome of John Maxwell’s statement “Everything rises and falls on the Leadership.” The match was scoreless at half time. Leicester City were proving to be hard nuts to be cracked by this ruthless and brutal Man City team.
I was very excited about the score line and hoped my wish of seeing Liverpool become champions will become a reality. The huge moment of the game came when this fearless leader produced a wonder strike into the right top corner of the goal post. I exclaimed, “what!” “Who”? Vincent Kompany! He was the least of all Man City players expected to deliver such an audacious strike on the night. That was the leader of the team coming up on a gloomy and difficult night.
Listening to the post match interview, he said “I could hear people saying ‘don’t shoot, don’t shoot! I’ve not come this far in my career to have young players tell when to shoot.” He paid no attention to any of them but delivered what will go down in the team’s history as one of the most important goals in the premier league era.
Vincent Kompany has been plagued by many injuries this season. He has been in and out of the team. Many like myself will not have seen his significance in the season, the likes of Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Ederson and Aguero taking the plaudits. I would like to believe that his influence off the pitch has been phenomenal as well. In my early years of watching Kompany playing against the soft Arsenal FC, I thought he was a bully and not a player who believed in fair play. I had to revise my notes later to consider him a true warrior, the man who will fight with his last blood to the very end. He did just that on Monday night.
As I indicated earlier, reflecting on his goal and performance last night, I believe there are many lessons we should glean from his leadership. First, leadership is not about position but getting things done. Leaders are entrusted with programs, projects and targets, they lead their teams to achieve their end goals, they must get involved, not sitting down and issuing commands expecting team members to obey and carry them. This has been one of the problems in the African continent. Leaders talk more, give many instructions and commands and lay claim to their position without getting involved to see the work being done.
Leaders hear many voices and in most times get confused as to whom to listen to. Many leaders listen to the crowd and ignore their own inner voice. Last night, Vincent Kompany chose to listen to his inner voice. It was not the time to listen to the crowd but execute his inner conviction; this is not to say there is no place to listen to people in the masses. I have grown to see many leaders in political and religious circles who have put very good strong convictions aside, just to do what the masses want. There is no clear direction and map to follow in such cases. I guess it is one of the problems of this nation: Ghana. For fear of losing elections and losing members, leaders have not followed through their God given convictions.
Last but not the least, leaders are ordinary members who do great things. Vincent Kompany is not an extra ordinarily talented football player or one of the greatest center backs in the game this past decade, but he has been a huge figure in the revolutionary years of this Manchester City team. He has captained the team to win trophies; he is a respected figure both on and off the pitch, a fighter, ambitious, and always believing.
Indeed, everything rises and falls on leadership; no home, organization or nation will grow beyond the visions and actions of its leaders. We need to reconsider leadership in this nation.
Kwabena Nifa Kurankye.
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