The Paradox of Leadership – Helen Yahaya

Since when I was a child, I always questioned things, questioned events, and questioned everything that was abnormal in my eyes. But the only issue was that I questioned all in my head, in my mind actually.

As I grew up and matured in certain areas of my life, I realized that most of the questions I asked myself were around the subject of leadership and the meaning it holds in the life of every human being in this world.


Today, while reminiscing through some past experiences in my life, especially one that occurred lately, the word ‘paradox’ came to mind. I wondered for a while what was its meaning and immediately the topic; “The Paradox of Leadership” came to light. Before I go into the definition of paradox and talk about some leadership paradoxes, I want to tell a story.

As a young girl coming up precisely between the age of 5-12, I was akin to the outcome of a small group of people who became a mighty nation.


It is the story of the Israelites. There was just a certain man whom the Mighty one wanted to lead, guide, and direct. That man knew, understood, and followed the Mighty one, one

instruction at a time until he became a father (leader) and led his son (his follower) until he too became a leader.

This continued until a certain generation came who lost sight of the leader they were supposed to follow and demanded that the prophet at that time ask the Mighty one to give them a leader. At first, the Almighty was reluctant because He wanted them to see and realise that He was the leader they weren’t aware of and neither where they following. But they failed to see that.

So, He gave them what they asked for and that became the beginning of the paradox of leadership. From one nation to another, this nation battled and battled and battled until battle became their way of life.


What is a paradox?

A paradox is an unanswerable question or difficult puzzle, particularly one which leads to a deeper truth. In simple terms, paradox are the real state of things but are not what is happening. They are questions that forces the mind into meditation so as to unravel the truth about that issue or ‘false’ reality.


Is the nature of leadership inherent in man?

If yes, then why does man, in a way or another act as though he is lost, always seeking a guide or someone who will lead the way?

If no, why do men act as though they are in control of every single thing happening around them?


Do you get? These are all paradoxes related to leadership. Let’s get to them.


Man and Leadership.

From the beginning, that is, creation, man received a finishing blessing from his Maker to dominate the earth. This means that man was given the ability to lead the earth but not himself. Man had gotten the permission to lead and be in charge of the earth and everything within it, but not his own self. Further meaning that man could lead exceptionally well, if and only if he was following the leadership of the one who created him.

It is also important to note that, the soul of man is always in search for deeper relevance and meaning of the life he lives, so this makes him go to extents that he shouldn’t so that he could gain control of his life. This is where surrendering to the greatest leader comes in. But most aren’t aware, so they remain stranded. Your soul finds relevance in following the One (leader) who created you.


The occurrences of our ancestors have given a darkened definition of leadership. Leadership is not living independent of another human being. Leadership is living dependent on other human beings to do all you have been called to do as a leader. That’s where our forefathers got it wrong.

They thought that appointing a leader will help solve their societal issues, but it didn’t. They were supposed to come together and work together with the one put in charge to accomplish that overall goal.

Every man is a leader who follows an ultimate leader. No man in this world can exist on his own. Every man you see in this world is surrending to the leadership of a being higher than him. For we cannot exist successfully of ourselves.

Finally, in this aspect, I want you to know that, the definition of leadership is relative. Over the years, we have heard and read so many definitions of leadership by so many leaders. Some are correct and some are not. But, all definitions of leadership come from a place of insight, revelation, or understanding coined from the personal experiences of that leader. So, you today, will choose your definition of leadership based on what you know and decide to understand about leadership through your experiences. The stage is yours.


True Leaders and Credible Leadership


We live in a society, a world that is continuously painting the wrong picture of who a leader should be by the way they act out their roles as leaders. We also live in a world that is leaving a disoriented inheritance of leadership from generation to generation.

Here, permit me to pick and use the definition of a leader by John C. Maxwell to further explain this. He defined a leader as; “A leader is someone who KNOWS the way, GOES the way, and SHOWS the way.” This means a leader is someone who has mastered himself/herself to do what is demanded/expected and not what is convenient. A leader is someone who has mastered himself/herself to do away with contrary and limiting mindsets and beliefs to take hold of the truth and lives that truth. A leader is someone who has found the way to living a great and successful life, while living that life himself/herself and is unashamed to codependently lead others towards that way.


Through a continuous repetition of this, credible leadership births forth. Credible leadership is when a track record of true leaders have lived their lives and passed it on to the next generation time and time again that it becomes a way of life. This alters the trajectory of a nation.

In conclusion;

The paradox of leadership is that why are we living in a confused world full of followers, who were truly created to be leaders, yet live like lost sheeps without a shepherd and still act like they are in control of their own life?

Leadership is a life to be lived and a legacy to leave for the next generation.

This is the paradox of leadership.

Helen Yahaya
Show full profile Helen Yahaya

Creative Content Writer and Content Marketer

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply


Jamie Pajoel University maintains this websites to provide the public with education in different fields. However, this University does not operate as the regular conventional University that provides degrees at the end of a course. The University therefore, will not be responsible for any miscommunication or misunderstanding regarding incurred in line with Jamie Pajoel University. It is strictly a non conventional University.

Jamie Pajoel University
Register New Account
Shopping cart