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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Good leadership is about making right decisions

21st February 2012

An effective leader is a person capable of inspiring and managing a group of people of different backgrounds and interests to achieve the common goal of a company, an organisation or an institution.

Effective leadership is about the ability to make right decisions and put them into productive action by involving all stakeholders.

“A leader is the kind of person (with leadership qualities), who has the appropriate knowledge and skill to lead a group to achieve its ends willingly… A good leader provides the right climate and the opportunities for these needs to be met on an individual basis and this is perhaps the most difficult of a leader’s challenges. Leaders must also inspire others,” says John Adair in his book, The John Adair Handbook of Management and Leadership (2004).

We are aware that no person is born a leader and so leadership qualities and skills have to be developed to cope with emerging needs in society.

The Tanzania Global Development Learning Centre (TGDLC), in collaboration with Leading Initiatives Worldwide of Sydney, Australia, will on February 13-17, this year, organise a face to face leadership development programme (gLOC) in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia. The programme is meant to equip leaders with the courage and means to lead others in the right direction taking into account that we are living in a multicultural world.

“This is a unique tailored, interactive and dynamic five-day capacity building programme for executives. It is designed to address what a leader needs to do to achieve success,” reads part of TGDLC’s statement.

The programme takes into account the challenges brought about by globalisation and technological advancement for nobody lives in isolation and the world has become like a big village.

“It utilises cutting edge technical and pragmatic methodologies, case studies and practical applications and is based on the experience and expertise gained from over a decade of achieving leadership success globally. Participants are given supportive feedback and coaching togain maximum learning from the programme and fellow participants and will have an exposure to a multicultural environment,” it reads further.

Leading others towards success is not an easy task because leadership everywhere demands more than what leaders themselves can offer.

In fact, it demands an open, critical mind and firmness to withstand emerging challenges. The leadership development programme targets leaders and managers from the public and private sectors interested in sharpening their leadership skills and delivering better.

“TGDLC programmes are designed in such a way that participants share their experiences and learn from their colleagues to improve their work. It is an opportunity for Tanzanians and African to learn from what is offered and shared to make a difference in one’s working habits and life in general,” said one of the participants, Yussuf Ahmed from Masaki, Dar es Salaam. Ahmed attended a similar programme last year and happened to meet this reporter at the TGDLC offices.

In developing countries like Tanzania, we still need leaders who, according to Mwalimu Julius Nyerere: “are able to see our problems as we see them and feel bad about them as we do”. In other words, we need leaders with the ability to know about pressing issues and do something about them and not those, who have a tendency to dodge or postpone them.

Speaking about political leaders he had this to say: “The present generation of leaders have not only to deal with the effects of the economic realities about which most of us knew very little, they have also to do so when the expectations of the people are higher than the general understanding of what is happening and why.”

This is part of his speech he delivered on leadership and the management of change at

the Quinquennial General Conference of the Association of Commonwealth Universities in Ottawa, Canada, on August 17, 1998.

What Nyerere meant was that it was impossible to tell people what to do if their basic needs were not met. The first thing to do, he said, was to address, their problems concerning food, water, shelter... In other words, it is impossible to lead hungry people before one does something about the hunger.

This can be interpreted in other sectors as well. If you want to see how leadership is difficult to handle, ignore or postpone people’s basic needs or pressing issues!

Some people start showing leadership qualities from a tender age. If such people happen to serve in leadership roles can perform wonders.

But even these ones need to learn about leadership skills and interact with others otherwise they may end up being frustrated and disappointed especially, when they are misunderstood, challenged or rejected because of their gender, ethnic group, political party or belief system they belong or subscribe to.

In this regard, leadership development is necessary for acquiring more leadership skills and be effective. Achieving or internalising leadership skills needs focus, practice and persistence in learning how to lead others.

Investing in upcoming leaders is critical to sustain a competitive advantage and achieve corporate growth over a long-term period. So, the leadership development programme is meant to equip managers with core skills they need to excel as multifacetedleaders in today’s world of science and technology.

We have come across a variety of leaders – for some, we want them to continue even after they complete their tenure of service for we believe they were the right choice for the job they have been doing and the services they have offered and we think there will be no one to compare with and we want them to extend their tenure of service.

For others, we regret to have them as leaders. These are among those who, after serving for some time, forget about what they are supposed to do and start serving their personal interests. Many African states suffer from this type of leaders, who often turn against their own people and embezzle national resources.

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