Saturday, 29 July 2017 18:34

Are you are a leader and if so what kind of leader are you?

Written by 


Ozodi Thomas Osuji

I am in the process of starting an educational organization. Therefore, I have to pause and answer a few pertinent questions.

Am I a leader and if so what kind of leader am I? What does my antecedent leadership behavior tell me about my leadership style and how can I improve it?

First of all, what do leaders do?  One must first understand what leaders do and evaluate whether one does what leaders do and how one does it.

So, what do leaders do and do I do them to qualify as a leader?

Leaders are people who see problems, specific or general problems and want to solve them. How do they solve them?

They come up with plans on how to solve the problems they have identified. They set goals and objectives designed to accomplish their task of solving the problems they see.

Leaders, in effect, set goals and objectives for their group, or society; they realize that goals and objectives are accomplished with both human beings and materials.

Leaders gather people who will help them accomplish their goals. They find out what resources are necessary for accomplishing their goals (money, lands, houses, equipment etc.) and go about getting those.

As a practical matter, leaders must have master's level education in business administration (MBA). They must have taken courses in economics, finance, marketing, human resources, labor relations, general management , leadership, supervision, productions management, contracts aka business law, accounting (they must be able to read monthly financial statements: understand bookkeepers daily journals, accounts receivable, accounts payable, budgets, financial reports etc.), customer care, computers and Internet and business.  However, one does not need a formal MBA to be a manager and leader although one needs to have taken the required courses (I have taught all MBA courses and can easily see your deficiency in any of them).

One has to ask one: do I see problems or a specific problem and want to solve it? If so, do I mobilize people and use them to solve the identified problem and do I get for them the resources they need to go about solving the problem?

Everywhere folks talk about how their society does not have the right leaders.  But do those who talk about good leaders understand what leaders do?

Leaders are not those who just make flowery, feel good speeches, you know, leaders have goals and visions that they want to bring into reality.

Leaders are folks who set goals and objectives aimed at solving perceived problems and go after attaining them with people and material?   (See my book, The Art of Leadership for Africans.)

More to the present task at hand, the question is: am I a leader; do I see a problem and want to solve it in a realistic manner; that is, solve it with people and capital.

You can talk all you like about problems but in the real world to solve them you need human beings and materials. Do I do these things?  What are my antecedent leadership behaviors?

Generally, when I go to a work place I study what it is designed to accomplish; I understand its goals and objectives and study the people there and ask whether they are the right people needed to accomplish those goals and objectives?

I tend to work hard in pursuit of the work place's goals. People around me tend to notice that I understand the work place's mission and try to accomplish it. Thus, within a few years in a work organization, even if I joined it at the entry level, I tend to be promoted until I get to the top.

I have been the executive director of some government agencies. In that sense, then, I am perceived by my peers as a leader.

In my self-assessment, I am leader.

Leadership studies try to understand what kinds of leaders there are. There are essentially two types of leaders: task oriented leaders and people oriented leaders.

Task oriented leaders see a problem and want to solve it. They hire the right people and get the materials needed to accomplish their tasks. But they may be weak in actually leading people.

I am a great task oriented leader but a weak leader of people. How so?  In the past I was pursuing ego ideals. I wanted to be the best at whatever I am doing. I tend to work hard and everybody notices that and as result always gives me leadership positions.  However, I was poor in relating to people.

Because I was pursuing ideal self and its ideal, perfect objectives I tend to evaluate people with perfectionistic standards. I tend to be judgmental.

If you are not hard working I tend not to hesitate in letting you go and do so without been sentimental, without caring about its consequences for you, such as losing the source of your income and not been able to pay your bills and or support your family.

People oriented leaders tend to consider the hardship they cause people before they let them go, if at all; they make every effort to help workers improve their job skills and only let them go if they are deadwood and hopeless.

I quickly judged people as good or bad, hard working or lazy bum and had no qualms firing them.  More importantly, I tended to be angry if those I led did not respect me.  If there was even the slightest indication that you do not respect me and or opposed my leadership, opposed my goals and the organization's goals I will feel angry.

I had an ego ideal that desired respect and dignity. Generally, I tend to respect people and expect them to respect me but if they do not I feel angry at them.

When I am angry may God protect you? I would invite you to my office and chew you out, tell you everything that you have ever done wrong on the job and if you really, really made me angry I would fire you right there on the spot.

I wanted to be liked; I wanted to be superior; I wanted to be powerful. I had pride and vanity and sought prestige; if my pride was pricked I went off the handle and fell into a temper tantrum.

These childish, egoistic traits are not good in leaders but are in many leaders, including in outstanding ones!

Leaders who pursue ego ideals tend to become dictatorial, for they want people to respect them and get rid of those who do not respect them.

I would have made a good dictator if I was in a top political leadership position. By that I mean that I would have gotten rid of those who opposed me and surrounded me with those who agreed with me, those who go with me to where I want to go to.

I tended not to listen to people and hear where they want to go to and consider their merits; it was either my way or the high way.

Please remember that I always have goals that I am heading to so that aspect of leadership is there in me; thus, while I would have made a great tyrant I would also have made a great achiever of necessary tasks.

For example, as I look at African countries, say, Nigeria, I see their problems very clearly. I know that Nigeria need good political structure, say, twelve states, each generating its own money to run its operations, hiring people who are motivated to developing the economy and firing those who are in positions for their pockets; if you were to take bribe I would fire you on the spot. I think that I would have been the best tyrant Nigeria never had!

Tyrants have their uses, you know. Some argue that what Nigeria and African countries in general needs is somebody like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Mao Tse Tung, a person with the overarching goal to modernize the country and does not hesitate in killing millions of people who stand on the way to his goal achievement; each of those three world shaking leaders killed, at least, fifty million persons.

You do not make omelets without breaking eggs. In that light, kill millions of corrupt Nigerians and those left alive would stop being god damned, freaking thieves who transform public offices to places they go to enrich themselves.

Listen, we are not trying to become tyrants here. We are trying to have better leaders; leaders who get goals accomplished but do so with people in a smooth manner.

There is no such thing as an ideal leader; leaders have past baggage they carry to whatever leadership positions they go to.

One begins where one is at in time and place. Where I was in time and place was that I was driven to be an ideal person; I desired a big ego and tended to like those who saw me as I wanted to see me, a big powerful person and get rid of those who saw me as not powerful and superior. This is where I was at.

My drive to be perfect and powerful characterized my leadership style; it was a problem for me and those around me, so it must change.

I must understand its root in my personality, in my self-concept and correct it as much as correction is possible and live with what I cannot correct.

I am aware that my personality has some positive aspects to it. For example, because I was pursuing ideals and superiority I do not see any one as better than I am. Consider the present president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump; I consider him not worthy to be in the same room with me. I had similar attitude to other presidents of the USA.

If I had such condescending attitude towards the most powerful men in the world you can then imagine how I saw those not in so exalted positions.

I have been a college professor. I tended to look down on the leaders of my schools; in fact, I treated them as one treats children!

You get the idea that I had, if you insist, a grandiose self-image. Given my exalted self-view if you opposed me I flew into childish rage and if I could I would get rid of you right there.  Obviously, I have to change that leadership style, for it is not right.

The tendency to feel angry when opposed is rooted in my pursuit of ideal self, superior self and powerful self.  Regardless of what caused me to pursue ego ideals, it follows that if I see me as the same and coequal with all people I would be more respectful of people; I would tolerate human weaknesses more.

That been said, I still will not allow oppositional people around me and will not tolerate those whose eyes are not on the ball, on the organization's mission, those who want to be time servers; I will not tolerate those who just want to be seen as big men, as Nigerians do, while doing nothing to accomplish the organization's goals and objectives.

So, to start my school (goal) I must seek money to do so (capital); I must only hire those who would help me achieve my goal of teaching a combination of spiritual and scientific psychologies.  They must be dedicated to this mission and work twenty- four- seven; they must give one hundred and twenty percent of their time and energy to the school (goal attainment). In Deming's total quality terms, they must understand their various customers and serve them, not themselves.

You simply cannot be lazy and be around me. See, I got up this morning and began thinking about leadership and went to my computer and within an hour typed nearly four pages on leadership. If you do not do that sort of thing you cannot survive around me.

I work hard; what most people consider a week's work I do in a few hours; you must work hard if you want to work with me.  I have time to schmooze with folks but I also expect from folks total dedication to hard work.


I wrote this material not only to clarify leadership issues for me but for aspiring leaders. In that light, if you fancy yourself a leader do you have goals that you are trying to accomplish, do you know a thing or two about getting people to help you accomplish those goals and do you know how to get the monetary resources your workers need to do their job?

What is your leadership style? Do you have problems in how you lead people, such as ego issues? Are you an idiot Nigerian politician who goes to office to satisfy his childish craving for prestige and to steal money from public office to enable him buy the paraphernalia for appearing big and important?

If you do not get into leadership position to serve the public, to figure out a good and or service that people demand and you supply it to them, and do so in the most efficient manner, well, you are not a leader.  If so, please don't waste our time pretending that you are a leader, as Nigerian thieving politicians do.


A leader has goals and objectives that he is trying to accomplish. A leader is a person who is totally committed and devoted to a course; he lives and breathes his dream, vision, goal and objective; in fact, he lives for it.

A leader has carved out an area of life where he is interested in and has skills in and seen problems in that area and wants to solve them.

Twenty something years in the field of psychotherapy led me to see that western psychology is useful but that it left out the spiritual dimension of human beings.

I want to add that spiritual dimension to the study of psychology, not spiritual mumbo jumbo but those aspects of spirituality that make sense to the rational human being.

I believe that people are bodies, egos and spirit and that you must address all three aspects of them if you want to help them to heal themselves.  This is my leadership goal and objective, my dream and vision.

I see myself as a leader in the study of spiritual and scientific psychology. I want to establish a school where these subjects are taught. I will run the school with the best management skills there are in the world.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD (UCLA)

July 29, 2017

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176