Dr. John Maxwell, America’s number one leadership author says “He who thinks he is a leader and has no one following him is only taking a walk.” People will only follow you as a leader if only you care about them. Why? Because people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.
In my many years of studying about 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. Someone who knows where he or she wants to go gets up and goes – a person that has foresight and the ability to lead.
Too often in Liberia we confused leadership with charisma, heroics, tough mindedness, eloquent speeches, skillful debate, etc. We see a person make an eloquent speech and we get carried away. Another person won titles in his academic or career life and we again are carried away and think he or she is a leader. These are some of the reasons we get all sorts of people elected in to offices and we get no better results.
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 elected and we expect better results. That is impossible. We can never have the wrong people in leadership and then expect better results. Fellow Liberians, this is a serious issue and I thought to write this piece for our understanding and since we have elections coming up by October this year I thought this piece would be worth it.
Therefore, who then is a leader? A Leader is one that helps people care about themselves, their work and their treatment of others. A Leader motivates people to discover themselves and their talents, to do their best, and to take responsibility and share recognition for achievement and failure. Take a look at Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, etc., you will see traits of leadership qualities in these leaders thus helping you understand who a leader is and what a leader does for himself and for the people he leads. These leaders didn’t think of themselves as being important than their individual and organizational mission. They were team builders.
But today in Liberia we see the opposite. Leaders in Liberia care only about themselves. They failed to motivate others. They fail to take responsibility and to share recognition for achievements and failures. When a leader in Liberia fails, he or she plays the blame game -blaming others and not wanting to take responsibility. With such attitude, we can never make progress. Remember, people do what people see. People will not follow us if we are not showing them the way. Sadly, leaders in Liberia think they are leaders but they have no followers.
I believe, without doubt, that electing the wrong people is unquestionably the most cause of the socio-economic crisis we have been faced with and that the lack of motivation or appropriate ideology on the part of our leaders is a major reason for the failure of Liberia to develop and from where we have come it is important for us to know 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, and to make Liberia a better place we must elect leaders and not people with personalities or titles.
Many are hoping too high and want a piece of the cake too soon. This is selfishness. Destruction is easy but development is a process. You can bring down a five-storey building within a day but you cannot build it within a day. That is impossible. But let’s get this straight – it is not only the masses that need to understand this fact. Our leaders too need to understand this too.
Friend, this article is intended to point us to the truth about whom a leader is and who is not. It is also intended to enlighten us that with oneness of purpose we can all make Liberia a better place for our children and generations to come and a country that is second to none in Africa. There is hope for the future of this country. With desire and a strong drive we will take Liberia there but to get there I encourage you to open your eyes and vote for leaders and not personalities or titles.
(Chealy Brown Dennis is a motivational speaker and offers training in leadership development, organizational growth and development, creative sales and marketing, strategic planning and team building. He also offers workbooks, on-location and train-the-trainer formats for leaders, managers, businesses and organizations. He can be contacted through email at: email@example.com or on phone at: 0886-264-611 or 0776545394)