Africa is seriously lacking in creative, upright, and courageous leaders capable of handling the continent’s increasingly complicated difficulties while also serving as an inspiration to their people.
While we are burdened by a global leadership shortage – worsened by the political vacuum produced by or the obvious incompetence of some of today’s heads of state – we must accept that the world has changed dramatically and that leading today is far more difficult.
Source Of Our Fear
Having a clear vision and the fortitude to put it into action is no longer enough. For starters, our leaders face far more complicated and tough tasks. Leaders in Africa in the past fought for independence, the establishment of a nation-state, democracy, and economic independence, in that order, amid a reasonably stable global environment. The list of problems and dangers to avoid today, on the other hand, is enough to send shivers down the spines of even the most hardened of leaders.
Our world is being reshaped by the effects of globalisation, the technological age, climate change, the increasing aspirations of an ever-expanding youth population, the need for the continent to find its place in the world, terrorism, the hunger for change, and the rising expectations of communities, all against an exceedingly complex backdrop where everything is moving faster and becoming more “transparent.”
The development and all-encompassing power of social networks, which both magnify and distort our reality while serving as a communication tool and people’s court, has posed yet another challenge to our leaders. Every action they take, no matter how trivial, is scrutinized by the public, prompting judgment and opinions.
Last but not least, “vertical” leadership is no longer an option. Authoritarianism, like old government approaches in which the commander was unquestionably followed by his followers, is obsolete.
Leaders must now “draw everyone on board,” “inspire” (the latest fad), “make things worthwhile,” convince, explain, and justify their judgments. They must also consider “well-being” in addition to growth and development. In other words, even if they are justified in stating so, a leader can no longer say “that’s the way it is and that’s that!”
In other words, even if they are justified in stating so, a leader can no longer say “that’s the way it is and that’s that!” What We Need
Africa’s progress depends on the development of leaders with remarkable character and abilities. Africa’s development partners must accept that it is too late to teach someone in a top government post how to lead during side meetings at various platforms. They should also keep in mind that for leadership to operate, the sense of identity of the leader and that of the followers must be in alignment.
The Consequential Gap
In most African countries, leadership incompetence is a reflection of the leadership culture, not just of the people who hold positions in government. For decades, we’ve had different leaders with the same results. The power gap that exists between government officials and citizens is mirrored in businesses and families. Leaders in such a structure don’t serve; they are served, because holding a position of leadership makes them superior and unaccountable to the people they govern. Africa need leadership development systems, and development partners and world leaders must grasp how cultural differences affect these systems.
Africa’s big youth population provides a unique opportunity to shape the next generation of leaders. However, the fact is that the continent’s elite class tends to take existing curriculum for leadership development through pricey executive education programs in business schools, whose costs are out of reach for the vast majority of its citizens. In the developing world, there is a need to democratize the leadership development process. The widespread use of mobile technologies could be a plus. As a result, formal and informal leadership development will become a more inclusive process that will benefit people from all walks of life.
As a result, formal and informal leadership development will become a more inclusive process that will benefit people from all walks of life. Our Needs
In our increasingly complicated environment, the opportunities for creating leaders have never been bigger. In order to diagnose leadership development needs, particularly in Africa, an examination of the entire leadership culture is required.
The majority of citizens have leadership potential, but various circumstances, such as poor governance, poverty, corruption, and religious and ethnic bias, inhibit their development. The majority of African youth are eager to learn and attain their full potential. They seek for dependable mentors and tools to assist them in navigating the complexities of life. However, there are few institutions and curriculum available to assist them in achieving their goals.
A broader perspective on leadership development can help explain why certain approaches are more successful than others in changing individual behavior. Individual capabilities must align with the leadership culture in which the leader is embedded in order to have an influence. Most leadership development courses designed in Eastern countries may not specifically address individual situations, particularly for youngsters in developing countries who have little formal education and are distracted by the battle for survival brought on by widespread poverty.
Emerging leaders in several developing countries are wary of foreigners because they aren’t used to participative leadership approaches and prefer bold, authoritative leadership styles. Because of the conservative nature of the culture, fear is prevalent, and most individuals have not been taught to be independent thinkers prepared to move beyond their “frames” unless pushed to do so by leaders. They’ve formed a taught sense of helplessness, with the overwhelming impression that they can’t do anything about their situation. Unfortunately, the ruling class is not interested in allowing the general public to join its ranks. In such a culture, the individual is subordinated to the community, and women are marginalized.
Africa need cultural change agents who will use both commercial and non-profit platforms to provide leadership development training to a huge number of people. Such agents must have gone through a mental transformation. Development partners from around the world who genuinely want to see Africa transform should be aware that the extractive leadership structures in that region of the world will not allow the intellectual, material, and financial resources they distribute to have any meaningful and long-term impact on the continent. They should reduce financial aid while collaborating with cultural change agents who are democratizing leadership development at all levels and promoting the growth of inclusive political and economic frameworks.
It’s also becoming difficult to come up with a new style of governance (and power devolution) that everyone can agree on, without which the democratisation process that began in the 1990s will struggle to move further. To understand the gravity of the crisis, simply count the number of elections that have been or may be challenged.
Africans are desperate for a different kind of leadership, one that would eliminate ineptitude and mediocrity, creating a virtuous loop that fosters quality and efficiency for the benefit of the people. This would imply a more reasonable application of the abilities that already exist – because they do – by placing the right men and women in the proper locations to meet the goals established and see results.
The continent would no longer have to put up with short-sighted and unqualified politicians simply because they belong to the right old boys’ club (as if these connections guarantee stability), clan, area, or ethnic group, and pledge fealty to the head of state.
When the whole definition of leadership is about planning for the future and ensuring that what has been developed will outlast the individuals who created it – referring to leaders who do everything in their power to suppress young talent out of fear that said talent will end up surpassing them.
However, the feverish hunt for men and women capable of assisting Africa in meeting its immense difficulties is not restricted to the political realm. It inevitably spills over into the business world, as only the private sector can absorb the influx of workers and minds into the labor market each year, as well as adapt to international competition and contribute to the transformation of our economies and long-term development.