“Since assuming office in 2006, my administration, with strong support from the Liberian people and the international community, has remained committed to our vision of a secure and transparent nation where economic growth flourishes.” President Sirleaf.
Looking at the above quote taking from the National Investment Commission Investors’ Guide to Liberia, it gives one a sense of a cordial relationship between this administration and the people. But is this truly the case? If indeed it is why then the repeated calls for the removal of Mr. Robert Sirleaf as Chairman of the Board of NOCAL has not been given any serious attention and why corrupt government officials continue to go with impunity?
An unrelenting fight against corruption has been waged by this administration, but it is important to note that the present stance taken against corruption is weak, and it is also glaring to all that corruption is indeed winning the battle. It is in light of the above that I want to add my voice in joining others in encouraging you, Madam President, to do more in the fight against corruption you SO declared from the very beginning; to deal with corrupt officials and to do away with nepotism. It is also in light of the above that I want to provide my expertise advice so that you avoid some of these leadership pitfalls and/or little distractions and that you keep your focus on the big picture. Liberia is TOO big for us to allow these little distractions to keep us apart, so that we allow our efforts in rebuilding this country after years of civil war to be wasted. Do not see removing Mr. Sirleaf as a weakness on your part, but rather know that it is the right thing to do. Keep a clean sheet, Madam President, so that others who follow will be able to see through.
The surest evidence of greatness is a humble spirit. Leaders need to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of the people they lead, and they need to as well know that the great paradox of life is that the more they give of themselves, the more they receive. Leaders need to build a reservoir of good will by placing the interest of the people they lead above their own and must accentuate the good decisions and find a way to reshape the bad. That in essence is the challenge of effective leadership.
Becoming a role model is an integral key to truly effective leadership. Madam President, there are of course many women, both in Liberia and within the African continent, that see you as their role model. Keep a clean sheet and do the right thing so that you are not used as a bad reference tomorrow-a reference that will hinder those women who have similar ambition. Know that their hopes and aspirations are based on your success story.
Listening shows that the leader has humility. It demonstrates that he or she is not too aloof or too busy or too self-opinionated to spent time listening to another idea or opinion. Problems can often be resolved before they have time to escalate. Madam President, listening to others on a first-hand level will enable you to take corrective action early. DO NOT allow problems to escalate. Successful leaders have the courage to take action where others hesitate. Your decision will always be better if you do what is right for this country, not what is right for yourself, Madam President, and as much as possible, keep the people in the decision making process. Ask for ideas, input, and thoughts before important actions are taken. Involvement leads to commitment.
Do not make unpopular decisions and seek to implement them. To do so will be setting a bad leadership example. Leaders must not lead their people with a whip but must give them a dream and help them reach their potentials. There are many qualified Liberians. Look among them. DO NOT give a wrong picture/impression to the people of this country that indeed you are hiding something-that you are adamant to their repeated calls for Mr. Sirleaf’s removal. Understand that confident, trusting leadership is no management fad; it is a way of life. It may take you a hundred days…or a thousand…but you must strive to make trust and confidence in others (and not necessarily your relations) an integral part of your personality before you can inspire or require it in someone else.
To close, I agree that Liberia is steadily progressing toward its vision of transformation and that your administration has made strides in laying the foundation for Liberia’s rise. With this I must commend you, Madam President. But please…listen to the people! By this, you will leave a lasting legacy, not only for yourself, but for Liberia as a country and women on the African continent the world over.
(Chealy Brown Dennis is a motivational speaker and offers training in leadership and organizational development and strategic planning and team building and management. He can be contacted through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on phone at: 0886-264-611 or 0776-545-394)