I am grateful for all those of you that have called and those of you that have written us on our Leadership and Motivation articles since the day we began. It is because of you we have chosen to do this and so we get truly strengthened by your encouragement. Again, I am truly grateful.
Too often, in Liberia, we confused leadership with charisma, heroics, tough mindedness, eloquent speeches, skillful debate, etc. Friend, Leadership is not any of the above. Leadership is helping people care about themselves, their work, and their treatment of others. Leadership motivates people to discover themselves and their talents, to do their best, and to take responsibility and share recognition for achievement and failure. This is what leadership is and not the opposite.
In my five years of studying leadership under some of the world’s finest leadership experts such as Dr. John C. Maxwell and Rick Warren and in my six years of teaching leadership, I have come to understand that a leader is one who has the courage to dream, the ability to organize and the strength to execute the action necessary. A leader is simply one who knows where he or she wants to go, gets up and goes. A leader has foresight and has the ability to lead. This is what a leader is and these qualities set him apart.
Fellow Liberians, I want to plead with us that we must begin to nurture leaders at every level of our society and make education and leadership development top priorities. We must begin to see Liberia as all that we have and must put her first in all that we do. We all must become active participants, instead of being spectators, in the rebuilding and economic and social development of Liberia.
Many in Liberia today do not understand the true meaning of leadership and there are yet many more who have not understood who exactly a leader is and over and over we get the wrong people appointed or elected and we expect better results. That is impossible. We can never have the wrong people into leadership and then expect better results.
Liberians today must begin to see leadership in its purest form instead of the opposite. People who are leaders and are placed in leadership positions must begin to care about Liberia and not only care about themselves and families. Our leaders must begin to motivate others, take responsibility and to share recognition for achievements and failures. Our leaders must stop playing the blame game-blaming others and not wanting to take responsibility. Again, I want you to understand that people do what people see. They will not follow you as a leader if you are not showing them the way. Friend, people will only follow you if you care about them. Why? Because people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.
I believe, without doubt, that bad governance is unquestionably the most cause of the socio-economic crisis we have been faced with and that the lack of motivation or appropriate ideology is a major reason for the failure of Liberia to develop. But it is important for us to know also, as a people and country, that our past is over and that Liberia is the only country we have. We must all endeavor to make Liberia a better place for our children and our children’s children. It is, therefore, important that our leaders develop a plan for peace, growth and prosperity as well as a strategy for making that plan a reality. As a country and people we must begin to train, develop and equip the younger generation for leadership. The challenge is for Liberians to be active at every level of the development process – from government to the village. It must include active participation in the governance of our country.
Leaders in Liberia must use every resource at their disposal to meeting development needs and to making sure that people who are placed in leadership positions are leaders and not people who do not care about the development and growth of Liberia. They must have a heart for this country and must not be some other persons that aim to corrupt the system.
I am convinced that Liberians must cease to be spectators and become active participants in the struggle to make Liberia a better place. It is Liberians that will have to become leaders in the struggle-not the UN System or the US, Britain or China. In order to fulfill this responsibility Liberians must be able to use the talent and skills of all especially her academicians and other professionals. Our leaders, academicians and professionals need to think together. They must be able to meet or set up forum groups that address development needs.
Friend, I hope I have pointed us to the truth about what leadership is and what it is not. I hope, also, that I have enlightened you-that with oneness of purpose we can all make Liberia a better place for our children and generations to come.
I want you to know that there is hope for the future of this country. With desire and a strong drive we will take Liberia there. Again, I want to let you know that I have dreamt it, you too can dream it. Be a tomorrow’s thinker, friend.
(Chealy Brown Dennis is a motivational speaker and offers training in leadership and organizational development; strategic planning, wealth creation and team building and management and offers on-location and train-the-trainer formats. He can be contacted through email at: email@example.com or on phone at: 0886-264-611 or 0776-545-394)