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.” 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. Your attitude will determine your action. Your action will determine your accomplishments. As Dr. John Maxwell puts it “attitude is the lens through which we look.” That is why leadership begins with attitude.
Current happenings within our country would give one a sense of the immense problems Liberia is faced in terms of leadership and good governance and our attitudes, as Liberians, need to be refined.
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. 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.
Bad attitude and the lack of right information and adequate knowledge and/or education create negative impact in the lives of people and country, and for us in Liberia we continue to create chaos for ourselves, others and country. 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? Must we continue to destroy 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 is the lack of right information. We must begin to develop 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. By doing so we would be far above others and not lag behind our counterparts in other parts of the sub-region. Note this: right 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, 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, as Liberians, continue on this path in this modern era? God forbids.
(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: firstname.lastname@example.org or on phone at: 0886-264-611 or 0776545394)