02.10.2017 14:43 Age: 139 days

Leadership – it matters

From our previous articles it was clear that leadership is an art and not a position and that verbs like to love, serve, influence, move (A to B where B is a better place), to add value, change and inspire are crucially important. It was also clear that true leaders do not shift blame, but that they accept responsibility for results and for the final outcome.

Why is this topic so relevant in Namibia and Africa today? Simply because leadership does matter. Leadership does make a huge difference.

Africa and Namibia have huge challenges and we will have to solve it ourselves. If leaders do not accept those challenges (without shifting blame), who will?

The world renown leadership guru, Bill Hybels, whose global summits are attended by hundreds of thousands of people annually, says the following about leadership, using the church as an example of its application, “It is not location, denomination, facilities, great preaching or teaching that makes the difference – its leadership that will”.

Jim Collins, Harvard Business review (“From good to great”), who studied 1435 “Fortune 500” companies through more than, amongst others, 6000 research papers came to the same conclusion. Without leadership you will not move from good to great.

John C Maxwell (frequently referred to as the world No1 Leadership teacher) said: “Everything rises and falls on leadership”. 

Namibia’s leadership friend who tragically died a few years ago, Myles Munroe said: “An army of sheep lead by a lion will always defeat an army of lions led by sheep”.

One of the African Leadership Institute power points slides reads: “It does not matter whether you are involved in government, business, church or education...leadership makes the difference!”

If we would like to remain relevant on this topic we will have to agree that good, solid, sound leadership is about taking responsibility for results and not increasing our skills to put forth better excuses.

Ask my previous partners at PricewaterhouseCoopers for how many years we have struggled to bring forth the “agreed upon numbers” to raise black chartered accountants in our nation. Our excuses just became better and we put forth more skillful arguments why we did not reach these highest priority goals. Until one day – we accepted that no excuses are acceptable any more. The results? More than 50% of ABAN (Association of Black Chartered accountants in Namibia) came from PwC in Namibia (at that stage).

As long as a leaders own ego is too strong, as long as their positions are more important than their roles and their impact, as long as they are insecure and hide behind the long as a leader is guilty of any of these things, the results will be the same: under performance accompanied by better and more charismatic formulating of excuses.

I have been told (and through experience I believe it is true) that if you have formulated an excuse and you have heard yourself say it more than three times, you believe that it is not your mistake or responsibility anymore. The blame then has shifted to somebody else.

Our leaders of the past deserve something better from a new generation. Our Founding Father brought peace; our next President brought stability and current President promises prosperity.

Without a critical number of leaders in government, business, church and education who unconditionally accept responsibility for the outcome (results), our President will have a tough time in leaving his legacy of prosperity.

He knows that in a breakfast gathering of business leaders he said that to create “prosperity” we will have to join hands as government, business, church, education and youth leaders to address the real needs.

He invited the business community (and the rest) to help, support and join him. He even challenged the permanent secretaries of his own departments to step up and even warned them that they should not automatically assume that their positions are “permanent”.

A strong indication of his leadership! Leaders should accept responsibility for the outcome. If they don’t who will? 

What is it that you should take responsible for?  Then do it!

Lead deliberately and diligently!