It’s nine days to the elections and political leaders are under great spotlight. Last week we tackled seven things that the next leader must do. This week we discuss what they mustn’t do. The question is: Do they really know what leadership is? Over the past 38 years of independence we have seen so much as a country.
We have gone through challenges and unprecedented change. In the process we got lessons — both good and bad. These lessons should then help us make a decision for our next leader. I hope the next leader learnt from past mistakes, never to repeat them. What are the common mistakes leaders make.
Lack Of Knowledge
A great leaders is ever learning. We must learn from others’ mistakes and experiences. It’s said when one stops learning, they start dying. We don’t need only educated leaders for Zimbabwe, but an enlightened and mentally transformed leadership. We have educated people, but not good for leadership. I have had an encounter with leaders that have intelligence which has no basis.
What do I mean? There are a lot of arguments we have about the politics of this country. Most of it sounds really scholarly and intelligent, but is that what we need? We need relevant and applicable information. At times we listen to debates and at the end your head is left buzzing, but without any solution.
Learn to anticipate the next bounce of the ball and have relevant and adequate information to tackle life’s situations. In Zimbabwe, we purport to be very educated, but why is it that our education seems not to bring solutions to some sectors?
Leaders should learn one of the most important ingredients in communication and that is listening. Most people listen not to understand, but to look for means to defend themselves.
Most despotic or kleptocratic leaders look for means to defend themselves. This closes their ear to the cries of the needy, the poor and suggestions from their team mates.
As a country, we have gone through a lot of pain. Is there no ear to hear our cries? A well-known truism says people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. We now need a leaders with a heart to listen.
These are the kind of leaders that need followers to follow orders, these are not great leaders. In some instances, the leader is not concerned about what the follower’s true purpose is. So, what does the leaders do? He tries to make a fish climb a tree by bidding orders to the follower.
Abuse of Authority
African politics in general and Zimbabwe in particular, leaders have made us to be afraid of them. This even includes leaders in some churches. The leaders use fear tactics to make the follower coy and follow the path. People are made to think that the leader must be godified. Authority has been abused.
The leader is there to help the follower to be effective, but when fear creeps in, it’s no longer leadership It’s being a boss. The next leader for this country must use authority effectively. The bible says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29: 2)
Overstaying your welcome
Leaders overstay their welcome and end up irrelevant. The moment you are in a position of leadership, you must plan your exit strategy. Do not be pushed out of your seat because people don’t want you anymore.
Dying with the baton in your hand
Leaders want to die with a baton in their hands. The purpose of a leader is his ability to multiply his leadership prowess by empowering others. This is done through motivating and modelling.
Remember, Myles Munroe said in every follower, there is a hidden leader. Your endeavour is to help others discover their abilities and leadership competency. When you die with the baton in the hand, you die with leadership inside.
Change is inevitable, but that is different from changing goal posts to suit individual needs. Erratic leaders are dangerous even to the economy. These are leaders that effect policy changes time and again. This even douses or dents investor confidence.
Disconnecting with God, the Source
God created us to lead, rule, control and have dominion (Genesis 1: 26). The best source from which to derive leadership lessons is God himself. Personally, I am afraid of anyone who is not connected to the source. They don’t have the internal fear to respect people. We have seen leaders maim and kill people in the name of power. At times what we need is for the leaders to be connected to the Source of life.