Leadership is the highest level of maturity one gets, where we consider others before self. To juggle one’s needs and that of others without compromise is a high-definition quality, thus it is not a task done by teenagers. Even though leadership is a team sport we can’t deal with collective leadership without considering the impact of individual roles. Leadership is not a title or authority but the role and functions that qualify one to be.
Africa has seen the era of “a strong man leadership”. By this I mean that those who occupy the position and feel that they have a monopoly of knowledge and wisdom, [appear to] have solutions to every problem. I speak of this inclusive of religious, political, economic leadership, lower level, middle and top leadership. I guess we can all agree that this approach is not effective.
It is not sustainable and not healthy for our societies. We need to find new ways of approaching leadership. This is to help teach each one of us to be a participant. It is from this background that I am making my argument that self-leadership is our way forward.
I am cognizant of the fact that we may easily confuse self-leadership with selfishness and self-centeredness. This is not my argument. It is self in a sense that there is a sense we all play a role in identification of our problems and bringing forth solutions.
Skills and abilities do not know titles, but the inherent capability God has built in us. I am now tempted to agree with Dr Myles Monroe that “born in everyone one is potential to do great”.
That inborn potential gives a possibility to each one of us to be a leader as it requires nurturing, guarding and development.
Time has come for us to exorcise such ghosts of progress.
We need to renew our minds now, not any other time.
We need a new breed of Africans who love themselves more where wishes will be translated into action.
We need patriotic citizens of this continent who will stop whaling and agonising and self-victimising.
Instead, who will begin to pick themselves up and march towards self-liberating. It requires us to be more principled, more disciplined and sober. We need to be responsible, honest and accountable. These standards need to be self-imposed.
It is imperative to acknowledge the fact that since this is not going to happen in the vacuum, some can easily say that it is easier said than done.
But the hope is that it is possible. If promoting self-leadership is not right, what is right then? In the same manner we have learnt to master the negatives, we can learn to master the positives. The world owes us no more than we do to ourselves. This qualifies the fact that self-leadership is a necessity here. When we do good and make progress in our communities, regions, countries and most importantly continent, we aren’t doing anyone a favour but ourselves. Because wrongs have been celebrated for far too long, we now see no wrong in ignorance. But the danger is our systems will be dwarfed by our acts. Opportunities no matter how plenty they are, we wouldn’t see them. Instead of ego, we need to choose open mindedness and humility. We ought not to put ourselves [higher] or below others.
The new Africa needs to qualify the saying of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr that, “we are bootless people who fail to get our foundational resources to start our ventures.” If he were to come to life today, he would see his dream come true but be disappointed in his black kids who get money but buy expensive cars to show how successful they are while the economy is not in their hands.
We now have small boots, so we need to be reminded by Madiba that it is our sole responsibility to do good to our nation as we have a short life span on earth. Doing this, we will move in the right direction of self-leadership.
God bless you!