Part of Africa’s challenge is that leaders always want their followers to believe a lie and accept what is not acceptable in the name of “respect.”
In leading people or even a cause one is bound to make some mistakes no matter how great, wise and well-intended a leader or leaders might be. However, when such an event befalls a leader or leaders in an organization or in the nation, they definitely deserve to receive support and encouragement so that they can get back on their feet to serve the people, especially where the mistake has arisen as a result of an honest oversight or failure to effectively engage due to poor analysis of whatever the situation was.
However, despite this allowance in leaving room for error, it should also be noted that those leaders should not now become the ones to determine their own fate and therefore evade certain consequences when held accountable. Every organization or nation ought to be governed by a well-defined set of principles, values and procedures in how to deal with a number of issues, one of which includes disciplinary measures if leaders are found wanting in the way they have either conducted themselves or the business which has found an organization or nation weakened as a result of their poor judgement in the matter. In essence there must be an accountable body of people (yes like a board of directors or a council) who should evaluate matters and assist in determining the outcome and the way forward ensuring that the best interests of the organization or nation and its people are highly upheld in whatever resolution is arrived at and under taken.
It is also very important to note that there are mistakes that leaders can make in their very own personal capacity that unfortunately have the ability to put the entire organization or nation in a very compromised situation.
If those mistakes become on-going and now form part and parcel of someone’ lifestyle then such a person can very well be assessed to be living in a compromised state contrary to the very principles and values that form the foundation of the very organization or nation they lead. The dealings of a compromised leader for those of you who are wondering may include aspects such as ongoing sexual misconduct, financial misappropriations, rejecting to be held accountable by other leaders or even mere members in the organization and any other unethical dealings that goes against one’s office as leader.
If not managed effectively, a compromised leader will eventually bring the organization or nation down to his/her compromised state. Leaders will always bring their followers up or down to their level and whatever they are a part of, which can have tremendous negative consequences if a leader is living a compromised lifestyle. I totally agree with John Maxwell, when he says that “Healthy leaders lead healthy organizations”. The condition of a leader will always be visible in the state of the organization or nation he/she leads. The office or position one holds does not make one a credible leader but the state of a person can make the office credible.
When it comes to leadership charisma, popularity is not the main measuring stick. Great leaders lead by example, first by on-going self-evaluation that is aimed at pruning those aspects that are not in alignment with what they represent. These great leaders understand that their inner being has profound impact on their leadership outcome. Good leaders put leading themselves first in an honorable self-reflective way, as a priority thereby positively impacting their leadership credibility and effectiveness. When a leader lives a private life that falls short of what his/her office requires, it becomes difficult for such a person to embrace an inclusive agenda often finding reasons and justifications of why he or she should not be held accountable when found wanting.
Compromised leaders are unlikely to have quality leaders around them and can only attract sympathisers or those who are also living in a compromised state in one way or the other themselves. After all there is a saying that says “Birds of the same feathers flock together”.
Every leader should reflect and value the idea of leading him/herself honorably. We should shy away from using a mere position itself as the measuring stick for successful leadership. Leaders should be proud to face themselves in the mirror knowing that no one under their charge has been deceived deliberately. The private life of a leader should not be in conflict with his/her public life, anything short of this is a compromised leadership.
By Kelvin Namwanza:
Author, Leadership consultant /Organisation Development Specialist /Life Coach/Motivational Speaker