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Leadership And The Monster Called Sycophancy

Leadership And The Monster Called Sycophancy

In the famous and widely sold William Shakespeare’s play titled ‘Julius Caesar’, which was named after the protagonist, it was the Roman dictator King Julius Caesar who disappointedly exclaimed in Latin, “Et tu, Brute?” meaning literally ‘Even you, Brutus?’ the moment he discovered that one of those who wanted him dead happened to be his protégé and trusted ally in the person of Marcus Brutus.

The last time I checked, the reign of several well celebrated leaders in the past was truncated owing to the invariable insincere gestures or eulogies showcased by most of those they recognized as their friends or brothers, or as might be the case.

This is the reason any leader who actually intends to excel must be extremely conscious of such societal lifestyle commonly known as sycophancy, which I invariably addressed as a monster.

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In any leadership setting or life generally, there are factors that tend to be symbiotic. Among them are tyranny and sycophancy, which pervade every level of governance.

The combination of the two aforementioned phenomena, which are dangerous to both institutions and countries, makes any leader blind to even conspicuous pitfalls thereby making them seem miserable if they eventually fell.

There are two major classes of sycophants, namely: genuine sycophants and mercenary/fake sycophants. The former have an inexhaustible capacity to be ‘happy slaves’ and to demean themselves in favour of the master. Somehow, such individuals or followers are at best Spartan-like, in the sense that they do not feel the pain inflicted on them and liable to be dehumanized both morally and mentally.

Instead, they feel the pain for the master, claiming they are the boss’ ‘shock absorber’, and usually struggle to take pleasure at the suffering of those who incur the wrath of any ongoing bad governance. On most occasions, they are likely to be more unfriendly or cruel than the master. This set of sycophants would always make an effort to defend the interest of the boss regardless of the situation at hand.

On the contrary, the mercenary ones are dangerous to the leader unknowingly to him, and they often play a very vital role in the day-to-day running of the administration. They equally possess the ability to play the ‘happy slaves’ role successfully, appear to demean themselves, pretend not to possess minds of their own, and unabated wear a happy physiognomy façade while sulking internally.

A fake sycophant is no doubt skillful in warming his/her way into the bosom of the boss by studying closely the weaknesses of the system and that of the master. Such an individual or so-called ally has no scruples; rather, he/she is Machiavellian.

He definitely knows how to acquire access to power by ingratiating himself with the leader via grant of an assortment of bribery or gratification to the right people, flattery, organized accusations against well-meaning followers or citizens as well as unconditional shedding of crocodile tears.

Furthermore, a mercenary sycophant is relentlessly very intelligent and clever in playing victim and shifting blames. He is so skilled in manufacturing cum painting of misleading services that the leader is often bamboozled by his purported loyalty.

Such a follower capitalizes any opportunity to betray the trust and overthrow the leader. In other words, as such a follower carries out or discharges his duties on a daily basis, he endlessly looks forward to discovering or creating a loophole that would serve as an advantage to his sinister motive.

The paramount challenge to any leader who wishes to have sycophants is to distinguish between genuine and fake ones. However, the bone of contention remains that harbouring sycophants is even more detrimental to the leader in question than to the teeming followers, irrespective of the circumstance.

Hence, there’s no gain reiterating that any sycophant, if discovered, deserves to be discarded without much ado because they are all valueless and useless. Read my lips.

On most occasions, you would notice that these sycophants are allies who usually appear to be extremely hardworking and creative, but realistically, they are doing virtually nothing. They often use noise making or exaggeration to create awareness, thereby luring unsuspecting followers into their net.

It’s noteworthy that sycophancy or undue praise-singing, which is arguably the willing undertaker of any country’s socio-political lost glory, seems to be taking an institutional presence or recognition in several parts of the world, particularly on their political platforms.

Isn’t it preposterous to see able-bodied citizens, even the old, singing and dancing in praise of somebody who has only succeeded in impoverishing his followers in the name of ‘leadership’ or consorting people’s aspirations to chisel his/her self aggrandizement?

In Nigeria today, likewise many other countries across the globe, such a manner of nauseous lifestyle takes place with an embarrassing frequency, yet nobody ostensibly cares to even acknowledge the social ills let alone discussing it.

In spite of the damaging effects of, or dangers inherent in, sycophantic lifestyles cum allied behaviours, most individuals yet have the impetus and audacity to gloat about the unsavoury and inglorious idiosyncrasy, even in a public sphere. This is to say, such kinds of creatures seemingly lack conscience or what have you.

This endemic wave of sycophancy sweeping across the lengths and breadth of our political space with uncontrollable rage of inferno, prosecuting our god-sent democracy and fueling several politically-motivated movements, unarguably needs to be thoroughly considered as well as checkmated by any leader that bears ‘decency and transparency’ as his/her watchwords.

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