The Five Marks Of The Authentic African Leader
At LEAD GHANA , we believe that Africans need to achieve a balance between offering up our individual talents and gifts to build the nation through a free market economy whilst remaining connected to the larger fabric of a society which is based on democratic principles.
To guide this process, we believe that a leader in Africa today needs:
1. An Understanding And Possession Of Self-Leadership
To lead others you must first lead yourself and to do this you must first know yourself. This involves a major shift from an exterior identity (I am who I am because of who I am related to, what I wear, where I live, my cars, house etc.) favoured by much of African society to an internal identity (I am who I am because of my intrinsic value out of which come my talents, gifts and calling). This is necessary in our current democratic and free market environment that requires the development of INDIVIDUAL potential.
2. An Understanding Of People (Soft Issues)
The authentic leader needs to have a DEEP understanding of culture, basic psychology and the role of personal, societal and global values on behaviour to make any real, lasting impact on his people. Free market economics calls for individual expertise under the concept of division of labour. This is the opposite of traditional African society where the emphasis is on the collective rather than the individual. In Ghana, the leader needs to understand how our traditional upbringing and public education, in particular, have tended to discourage individual thinking leading to the low initiative and creativity shown by many employees in the formal workplace context.
3. An Understanding Of The Global Context In Which We Operate
Global trends in social practices, politics and economics all have a bearing on our continent. In choosing to adopt democracy and a free market economic model we are requiring a complete identity shift in our citizens where we now expect them not to be a quiet part of the collective but to stand out and speak in our democracy and develop their individual competencies in the free market economic model. This is happening as people move from predominantly collectivist village societies with deep community spirit to more individualistic cities where people lose some positive traditional values. All these affect workplace productivity via your organization’s culture.
4. An Understanding Of Leadership And Teamwork
The role of a true (servant) leader is to identify and meet the legitimate needs of others. We build authority any time we serve and sacrifice for others. In the process of meeting needs people WANT to follow us, they don’t need to be coerced to do so. This is true leadership.
In order to achieve organizational goals the leader needs to be a team builder. At LEAD GHANA we believe from experience that the most effective and manageable way to achieve organizational/national development is to break down goals into a series of manageable projects run by effective teams. The beauty of teams is that, though they are a collective effort, it is a person’s very uniqueness that makes his valuable to a team.
5. An Ability To Create Other Leaders
With an understanding of all of the above, the true African leader is expected to play a pivotal role in identifying and training other potential leaders in her care.
We are here at LEAD GHANA to support you to be a great leader – a developer of people and a builder of teams – whether you are a CEO, a clergyman, a public official or a parent (the GREATEST leadership role of all!).
The LEAD GHANA platform is an initiative of Seth Tandoh. You can find his profile here. Below are some of his landmark articles outlining the principles and observations on which LEAD GHANA is based.
There are MANY positive aspects of our culture to treasure and promote however some aspects of the social systems we have in Ghana, principally our upbringing and education, seem designed to dumb down the individual’s intelligence – intelligence we know exists because when the same Ghanaian is taken to another society/culture he often excels. Here Seth Tandoh isolates 5 key soft issues (beliefs, attitudes and behaviours) we value that suppress the potential of Ghanaians who often travel to other societies and thrive!
We are at a cross roads. Capitalism and democracy are moving us towards a more individualistic, internally referenced identity – I am who I am based on my unique skills.How do we take this on-board and still keep our valuable sense of community? Seth Tandoh contemplates.