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Opinions of Friday, 29 July 2016

Columnist: Jeffery Amo-Asare

Till our leaders learn this...

The meaning, existence and purpose of leadership in our part of the world is really disgusting and sickening. No wonder leaders are always tagged as the source of African problems and woes.

Our negative, selfish and wicked mindset and attitude of acquiring leadership mantle is the clear reflection of our current hardship and struggles. Yet, there is hope, and the hope lies in our change of leadership mindset and attitude.

We are in a system where leadership is a perceived means of acquiring a height with power and authority to control, manipulate and subject others to your will. We are in a system where leadership is a means of amassing wealth to be enjoyed during retirement. We are in a system where subordinates are enslaved to their leaders to do their bidding without questioning and threatened with dismissal or transfer if they fail to comply.

We have leadership system which practice dictatorship and autocratic system of ruling though we call ourselves, a democratic nation. Who is the subordinate to question the authority of the leader? We have leaders who do not challenge their subordinate to develop skills, expertise and positive attitude toward work.

We have leaders who hide knowledge and discourage subordinate to acquire knowledge for the fear of competition. We have leaders who hide all reading materials and relevant working documents in their lockers and under their beds in their homes. We have leaders who will question you why you didn’t come for his bag when he got to the entrance of the office. We have leaders who want a share out of your meagre allowance or salary. We have leaders who never asked you what you learnt from the workshop you attended but rather question how much allowance was given.

We have leaders who will send their subordinate to run errands which have no relation to their work during working hours. We have a system where leaders are given key privileges while their subordinates have none. We ran a system where leaders focus on themselves but not their followers. This is not the principle upon which leadership was built. It is impossible to achieve success as a country with this wicked and devilish leadership style and mentality. The sad thing is, most of such practices occur in our state institutions.

I have had opportunities to participate in leadership conferences, seminars and workshops, read publications and books on leaderships and they all speak one language, the success of any organization solely lies on leadership, a good one of course.

But, there is an interesting twist, the successful leaders, those who have achieved impressively and won several admirations when it comes to leadership, turn to differ from that known fact. Majority of them are rather known to this fact, the success of any organization solely lies on the subordinates, the followers, and not the leaders.

In my experiences, I see a lot of truth in what these leaders say about organizational success, thus, subordinates/followers determine the success of every organization. I recalled during one of our end of year’s awards night in an organization I worked, a known boss, who to many, was one of the laziest manager, won the best manager award.

Indeed, his unit deserved it. They achieved an impressive record during the year under review. That same year, a boss, who to many, was hardworking, strict and had impressive qualifications, failed miserably to meet his organizational targets which eventually caused his dismissal. In his final remarks to his staff, he stated, “I thank you all for your support. May God punish you severely for sabotaging me.”

How can a lazy boss achieve greatness in organization and a hard working boss dismissed? The answer is simple, the former understood the principle of success in organization, which is, to achieve organizational success, focus on subordinates or followers while the latter failed because he focused on himself, the leader instead of his followers or subordinates.

Irrespective of how knowledgeable and nature of experience you have acquired, your success as a leader is entirely fixed on the people you are leading. It is hard to chop success if you work with lazy, ignorant, money conscious and careless staff. The same is true in the other direction, a determined, well focused, creative, innovative, and hardworking staff, shorten the road to success in organization.

Have you ever asked yourself why prominent football coaches do not purchase half-baked football players during transfer windows but rather ran after the best? Have you also questioned why in movie casting, the well-known producers always go for the best actors and actresses? What about institutions who go through rigorous interviews and aptitude test to choose their staff? The answer is simple, the success of any organization is fully dependent on the nature of subordinates you lead.

Success is imbedded in subordinates and therefore raising the standard and quality of your subordinates will yield great success. Subordinates need to be respected, valued, cherished and highly motivated. Their value need to be raised and support with the enabling environment for their growth and development.

They need to be given the platform where they can express their thought, skills and creativity. They need to be trained and well prepared for any given task and be taught the need to develop others, work with others and value others. All other elements of leadership automatically evolved when a leader focus on his subordinates.

What has been the secret of great leaders? This is John Welch’s secret of great leadership, “before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself, when you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” If today leaders will design methods, strategies and plans to grow their subordinates, there would be no height that they cannot achieve.

Peter Drucker also revealed that, leadership is lifting a person’s vison to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitation. Whoop! Leaders who do this really become great. What does the world richest man say about leadership? “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others “- Bill Gates. That is all we need to do as leaders, helping add value to the lives of those we lead.

We can make it! In one way or the other, you would be a leader in your family, church, organization, workplace, society or country. Remember, when you get there, don’t look at yourself, focus on others, build them up and add value to their lives and they will give you all the success you want.

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