Some of the problems in Africa are man-made. Africa is so rich in resources, but affected by innumerable problems. What Africa needs is not necessarily the medicines for our ailments, or food donations, but better leadership.
Farai Gundani (Zimbabwean born, 2015 Young Global Leader, WEF) rightly says it, “Most problems we see around us are because of a leadership crisis; if Africa and the world as a whole, could address leadership, we would create a better haven for humanity.”
Proper leadership plays a pivotal role. It is the fulcrum of any country, company, consortium or the church. If ever there is to be a worst scarcity, it would be the absence of leadership. Leadership is important to success as water is to a fish.
Leadership motivates people to face the future with expectation, gives hope to dead dreams, and anticipates the change of seasons.
True and great leaders are those that leave a legacy. Africa and its companies are chocked with people that are concerned about position not leadership. They will go to university to get an MBA just to get into power. As I always say if you step into their office the aura that greets you is “I’m the boss here!” In true reality, if we remove the “b” in that sentence and replace it with “L” it would read: “I’m the loss here!” As a leader or someone who aspires to be one, take stock of yourself today.
Robin Sharma, a leadership expert and author, says: “The old model of leadership is obsolete. Now for an organisation to truly excel in these times of deep change everyone — at every level — must show leadership and do their best work.” Times are changing; people are now exposed to so much information that could have been a taboo for a subordinate to know in the traditional setup. The question is; how do you continue to influence such people to continue under your instruction? Most leaders are equipped with theories that don’t take us anywhere at all.
A leader must have a clear personal picture of what they want to achieve. A leader should be the carrier of great ideas. Without it you have no legitimacy to lead anyone. As a leader, where are you taking people to? The writer of proverbs says “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” The vision must be clear to the originator and also be clearly spelt to those who should execute it. Secondly, the vision should be bigger than the leader so that it does not die with him, but affect and impact next generations.
Leadership is an assignment to humanity. We answer to a need by providing a solution. This happens by inspiring the people we are leading to work towards a cause. Steve Jobs, of Apple saw technological need for the future and he provided a solution. A leader is a person with an assignment to bring a solution to human needs and organisational dreams.
When Jesus Christ juxtaposed the old wine skins with the new wine skins (Matthew 9: 17), He was showing a new leadership prototype that he was bringing up. A leader should not be content with the current situation if he does not want to expire. A leader should be flexible enough to see change coming, embrace it and use it to his advantage. A leader should not enjoy the current state of affairs to an extent that he forgets the future. Neither should he be overwhelmed by challenges, not to envision the opportunity ahead.
A leader with capacity does not feel threatened by subordinates he leads. In fact, Myles Monroe says, “Leadership is your capacity to make yourself unnecessary”. The leader should have the capacity big enough that he can’t hold it alone. The leader should be open-minded, and humble to pour himself into other people. If the organisation you are leading always needs your presence, you have failed in leadership. Some people are proud enough to profess that an institution will fail without them.
Groom, mentor or coach other people to be as you are and even better.
I have picked experts from Zimbabwe to show how necessary leadership is. These are excerpts from their endorsements in my forthcoming book titled: Transformative Leadership — Understanding Strategies And Ideas Used By Extraordinary Leaders. They convey the greatest need for Africa:
“The biggest cry in the world is not about hunger or disease but that of a yearning for sound leadership. You can never be a great leader until you learn to lead yourself. Issues such as visionary leadership, understanding personalities of those you lead and the art of knowing what to speak about are some of the many facets” must be developed”- Rabison Shumba (author and speaker).
“Indeed, everything rises and falls on leadership. In any context, leadership is the problem and solution — Patson Dzamara (leadership coach and author)
“When leaders fail to grow, develop and stay ahead of the game, improvement and positive change in the macro and micro environments remains subdued” — Cynthia Hakutangwi (communications and personal development consultant, life coach, author and strategist)
“Change is inevitable, hence the need for a leader who will be able to adapt to the changes” — Rodwell Harinangoni (author, motivational speaker and success coach)
“Leadership has been misunderstood as positional or situational yet its true impact is in transformational leadership. Position and title does not make a person but the person makes the title. Anyone can be called anything and fall short to deliver the title they carry, on the other hand situational leadership deprives us of long term planning or being futuristic even to levels of planning succession of our ministries and organisation be it church or businesses” — Whatmore Makwara (author and speaker)
I strongly believe that the problems we have as a nation can be or could have been avoided if we had good leadership.
As we face the future, what we need are not of resources, but leaders with an ability to work with people so that the resources benefit the masses. Africa has to define its fate and that takes a bred of new transformational and trans-generational thinkers. People can be trained to be better leaders. We need leaders who are responsible, transparent, accountable, people-centered, and trustworthy. Greed and egocentrism has grounded economies and progress. It’s time to lead people to bigger and brighter heights. It’s time to unleash our leadership prowess and potential!
●Jonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and leadership trainer. He can be contacted on 0772 581 918 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org