Recent happenings between the House and former Montserrado County Superintendent, Grace Kpaan and former City Mayor, Mary Broh would give one a sense of the immense problems Liberia is faced in terms of leadership, attitude, education and information and these are the things I intend to discuss in this part of our series. I have chosen to write this time because I believe the fire has lessened in intensity so it makes it the right time to discuss it so that I do not fuel tension.
Fellow Liberians, it is common to assume that leadership is all about skills and techniques. In reality, our leadership begins when we possess the right attitude about our circumstances and ourselves. This is where change takes place. William James, the father of modern psychology, wrote: “The greatest discovery of my generation is that humans can alter their lives by altering their attitude and their mind.” Friend, your attitude will determine your action. Your action will determine your accomplishments. Attitude is the lense through which we look. That is why leadership begins with attitude.
Friend, who do you most admire? What is it that causes you to admire that person? Considering the qualities you wrote down do they have more to do with attitude, aptitude or appearance? Can you see how attitude is important? Generally speaking, people are mirrors. They will reflect the attitude of their leaders. And so as a leader you must initiate the attitude you want in return. Think about this – you are only an attitude away from victory. An Olympic gold medal winner once said, “I believe the only difference between gold and silver medal winners is their attitude, not their ability. A political leader once remarked, “Some people see things as they are and say, ‘why?’ I look at things that are not and say, ‘why not?’”
Attitude creates momentum – positive or negative – for your leadership. Our leaders need to know this. Business executives say the most important elements for potential employees are: 5% availability, 5% adaptability, 10% ability, 10% appearance, and 70% attitude. Note the importance of attitude in both leaders and team members. A practicing psychologists list five rules for evaluating people considered for job promotion: 1. Ambition, 2. Attitude toward policy, 3. Attitude toward colleagues, 4. Leadership skills, and 5. Attitude to pressure on the job.
And so, due to bad attitude and the lack of right information and adequate knowledge and/or education, basic tenets of due process which both parties – the House and former City Mayor Mary Broh and former Superintendent Grace Kpan would have followed were being ignored. All parties were wrong and non want to realize they were in gross violation of the constitution. Should we continue on such path in this country? Must we continue to run this country in error – errors that got us into over 14 years of civil blood bath? Isn’t it time we get rid of having people, especially, our younger brothers within the sub-region telling us that “We should have known better? For how long must we continue in error and not have those errors corrected? For how long must we tear down this country and think we are doing it any good? Fellow Liberians, our friends are laughing at us. Let us be ware.
The bedrock of every revolution is the discovery of the truth and it has become an obvious truth that our problem, including our leaders, is the lack of right information. We Liberians have not developed a reading habit, a strong desire to obtain relevant information as well as the inner drive to explore new ideas that would put us ahead of others. The above has made us to be lagging behind our counterparts in other parts of the sub-region when it comes to having the right information as information leads to knowledge and knowledge gives one the power and with power comes the ability to do all things that are necessary and within one’s reach.
During the years 1950s and onward, Liberia was known as the center of western education as others looked to her as a leader, and Liberians including our leaders, in those days aspired to learn and sought for information because they put on not only local thinking but regional and global thinking and as such many took on jobs on the international stage and many more left indelible marks within the African and global communities. But in today’s Liberia which, according to us, is a new Liberia; many, including our leaders have not put on such regional and global thinking. Many are satisfied with the status quo and do not long to make an impact on the local, regional and international stage. Many lacked the basic information needed to stay ahead. Where then do we want this country headed when we have many of our leaders today living in ignorance?
Fellow Liberians must Liberia as a country in this information age, and when technology has advanced, lagged behind others especially her younger brothers and must our leaders continue to lead this country as did the years when information was lacked and leaders in those days led their people and country in trial and error? Must we continue in this path in this modern era? God forbids.
(Chealy Brown Dennis is a motivational speaker and offers training in leadership and organizational development; strategic planning, and team building. He also offers on-location and train-the-trainer formats. He can be contacted through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on phone at: 0886-264-611)