Feature Article of Sunday, 17 October 2010

Columnist: Twumasi, Patrick

The Generational Leadership Teething Pain

In every civilized human community, leadership is very important in all aspect that it appears. Leadership does not only give direction, but serves as the embodiment, the spirit and representation of a people. Hence, there is always concern with the personality reposed with authority, and his or her output. There is the axiom that, if a leader or king is fan at a function and the king is bereft of wisdom, then the servant is fanning an empty chair or seat.

Nobility and elevation is said, calls for great responsibility. Leadership which has no sense of purpose and lack of quality thinking is not the preferred. The leadership which has seen organisations becomes the most sought after, and countries the desired destinations where dreams can be realised are carefully chosen. In an Organisation, where the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the most respected, but the company he or she represents suffers in meeting set targets, can only be seen as personality centered leadership. There are many around. Countries where Presidents or Premiers are popular and always in their plushly best while their economies are rue, has lost the benefits of the utility of leadership generated to be benevolent with it.

Industrial and organizational psychology indicates that, its not every good player who will be an excellent coach. As well, it is not every good coach who was an excellent player. There are varied forms of leadership in the form of mentoring and coaching in industry. A mentee is ushered to a mentor to receive the needed leadership training. How do our leaders in our part of the world, especially Ghana acquire their capabilities?

Leaders come from among the people. The society chooses a leader, and not the society or people been chosen by the leader. The leader is an aggregate member of the wider society. The leader comes from the people, but the people do not emerge from the leader. A society can be without a leader; the earlier theocratic societies. But it will be absurd to have a leader without a people or society to lead. Leaders neither choose themselves nor the society they want to lead. There is leadership by inheritance and by election. In Africa and Ghana particularly, should leadership by inheritance be thrashed upon any one for the reason, the fellow is next of Kin? And preferably, should leaders be elected to office of trust and full of expectation, because they are the loudest and can say all the niece things?

Consider this analogy, if you get to town ‘A’ and the inhabitants are wise, but the leader is a block headed fellow (a fool), you may ask, what kind of wisdom the people have to choose a foolish leader. And if you go to town ‘B’ and there as well, the people are foolish, but their leader is wise, again you may ask, what kind of wisdom the leader of the community possesses to be chosen by fools bearing in mind that, in all instances, the leader emerges from the people. Deductively, the obstacle to development may sometimes be the people, and other times, the leadership. But if the problem happens to be the people who choose the leadership and the elected leader as well, then that society is derailed from the rail of development, apparently forever. What is the direction of our leadership? How developed are the structures of our society to take time tested decisions to choose best of leaders? Is it true, that our bane of development over the years has been the quality of leaders and their style?

There is the need to fear time, but believe as well in time. Believe in time, because in the arms of time lie the power of change. Fear time because of the changes time brings. The change might not come, but even should change come at all; it might be against you or in your favour. Leadership in our part of the world has brought about some draining changes that have taken a while to heal. The lapses has led to deaths of innocent people which were only separated by years, at locations only blocks apart, from biological causes that were identical. This sometimes leads to an anxiety reaction and accelerated into something nightmarish panic of fear in leadership in Africa. Man is free, man is freedom, and freedom is man. Hence it’s said that, man is not already made. The choice of man today determines what he would be in future. Therefore, the state that, our part of the world, especially Ghana is now, is based on the decisions we made years ago. Ghana could have decided to go on the economic front, either to go West or East and democracy or dictatorship on the political endeavors-and yet there could have been a choice.

Africa is celebrating liberation from colonialism 50 years after. But it is a held belief that, we need another uhuru. There is another liberation battle to be considered. Can Ghanaians confidently pass the comment to the effect that, we have won our economic freedom? The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionalities linger on African initiatives. Budgetary support is annual. Then would it not be apt to look out for leadership which has the strategy to break this jinx? According to Broom and Dozia, strategy (strategic planning) is deciding where you want to be in future and how to get there. How good has our leaders being to piercing into the future, for the interest of those who elected them? An ample example is the current crude oil find. If we did know there was cruel oil in Ghana to be exploited in the near or remote future what was the strategy to take control of this resource? As it is now, Ghana’s status as a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, (OPEC) is assured, but the expertise, which empowers us as Rappaport will indicate, is not there. Ours would be the labour status and not the very experts who can be depended on. Although I do not challenge the resource at the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). The rush and haste to establish petroleum institutions to train Ghanians to take charge of this non-renewable natural resource, exposes us of lack of hind–sight.

Adding, Mark Anthony in a tribute to the slain Julius Ceassar in 44 BC in Rome, said, ‘‘Hence was a Ceassar when cometh such’’. When can this be said of leaders of our time in Ghana? When, I refer to leaders, I do not only throw the search light on Presidents and Prime Ministers or those in Political Offices, but, any position of trust that is held by an entity. In our homes, parents, churches and mosques, pastors or Bishops and Imams. And at schools and towns, the Head teachers or Masters, chiefs and opinion leaders. When any of these fails in any facets of Ghanaian life, it culminates into a general usurpation of the national course. They should also be carefully chosen. For the reason that, each of them contribute to the positive or negative course of Ghana’s development.

Again, the strength of our institutions depends on the leadership at the helm. Since, politics has made inroads into our, institutions - a perception that had been for a while now – has led to the appointment of political faithful who might be a square peg in a round hole. A vivid example is the savaged property of the defunct Ghana Airways at Kesseman. A national property of such magnitude was left at the mercy of rot and decay, till University of Ghana came into renovate the facility. And when you are out and about Kesseman, do go close to the facility, and you will know the lack of leadership that is needed in our part of the world. This might be a tip of the ice berg. Generation after generation, leadership in our part of the world has become the bane of development. Do our leaders know that, leadership is public transaction with history?

The best is with the will to give says, an Arabian proverb, let our leaders chim out that envious leadership so desired. There is the belief they can, and yes they have the capacity to deliver.

Patrick Twumasi