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Questions African leaders must answer


THE citizens should be able to ask questions and get an answer from their leaders. At times people remain in self-censorship because they are afraid of questioning their leaders. When citizens are afraid to ask questions, it’s a sign that something is not good with the leadership. Leadership has to be questioned and they give answers to those they lead. Debate is a sign of a healthy democracy.


Leadership motivates people to face the future with expectation, gives hope to dead dreams, anticipates the change of seasons and above that, asks great question
Leadership motivates people to face the future with expectation, gives hope to dead dreams, anticipates the change of seasons and above that, asks great question

Secondly, leaders should be constantly asking themselves questions. This could be at country, church or corporate level. As a leader, what can I do to add value to myself? What can I do to add value to the team players or supporters? How do we do things differently? How do we become competitive in the market place? What new invention are we working on? What should we do differently? What’s our weakness? What is the weakness of our competitors? What has been our setback? Is there a new approach we can adopt? Where do we want to go? Investigate every angle and provoke the adrenaline to rush you to your answers. Big thinkers and great leaders are always asking questions.

Inquisitive leadership plays a pivotal role. It is the heart of inventiveness in any company, country or the church. There is a dire absence of leadership with proper questions. Leadership motivates people to face the future with expectation, gives hope to dead dreams, anticipates the change of seasons and, above that, asks great questions. True and great leaders are those that leave a legacy. Companies are choked with people who are concerned about position and not leadership

The question to every authentic leader is: What problems are you solving? This article answers to the need of effective leadership. Your phone answers to the need of communication. An aeroplane answers to the need of travelling. A tree answers to the need of oxygen to human beings. The sun answers to need of energy on earth. Your mind is a thought factory and you must use it to create solutions to the leadership need. As a leader or someone who aspires to be one, take stock of yourself today and answer the following questions:

  • Am I passionate enough?

In most cases passion supersedes talent. Talent alone is not enough, people are inspired by passion. The World Economic Forum said that: “Impacting the world is hard — so if you’re not really passionate about the issue/cause at hand, your energy will fizzle out. You should use the ‘sleepless night test’ for this one. If the idea/issue you want to pursue is consuming you so much that you can’t sleep at night, then it might just qualify as that 1% idea”

  • Am I relevant?

Robin Sharma, a leadership expert and author of the book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, once said: “The old model of leadership is obsolete. Now for an organisation to truly excel in these times of deep change everyone — at every level — must show leadership and do their best work.” Times are changing, people are now exposed to so much information that was not allowed for a subordinate to know in the traditional setup. The question is: How do you continue to influence such people to continue under your instruction? Are you an answer to the need in your company or community? Leaders must stay relevant so as to correctly answer to the “now need” and envisage what could be the “future need”. If you are not answering to any need you cease to be relevant.

  • What human resources do I need?

Most of the African countries are still educating their people using irrelevant knowledge. We need people with skills that will solve our problems on the ground. An article written by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the Centre for Global Development says: “As African economies diversify, matching skills to emerging job opportunities will be critical. Many Africans feel that despite the progress made by the continent on health and education indicators under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), our education and health systems are broken and need fixing. On a continent where 70% of the population is already under 30, and that is home to half the worldwide total of primary-school-aged children not in school, basic reading, writing and technology skills, followed by vocational, technical, and entrepreneurial training, must be priorities”.

  • Where am I taking people to?

Direction determines your destination and that is the reason why it is essential to have a right driver. Let’s say you are about to board an aeroplane, and your pilot says: My name is Jonah Ndondewa. Welcome aboard flight 360A. I am not a good pilot. My vision is bad and I will try to fly this plane. Do you continue in such a situation? That is what most leaders are doing with their organisations. This even confuses the followers, and only because they are obligated to do your bidding they stay. But some will ultimately leave you.

A leader must have a clear mental picture of what they want to achieve. Without it you have no legitimacy to lead anyone. Why? “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29: 18 KJV). Where are you taking people to? The vision must be clear to the originator and also be clearly spelt to those who should execute it. Secondly, the vision should be bigger than the leader so that it does not die with him, but it should continue to affect and impact next generations. In case the pilot dies or is incapacitated along the way, the co-pilot will know how to take over and continue with the journey.

  • What solutions am I bringing?

Leadership is an assignment to humanity. We answer to a need by providing a solution. This happens by inspiring the people we are leading to work towards a special or a worthy cause. Steve Jobs, of the Apple legacy, saw a technological need for the future and he provided a solution. A leader is a person with an assignment to bring a solution to human needs and organisational dreams. The level of our worth is directly related to the problems we solve. The bigger the problem we solve the greater the worth and even the reward we get.

  • Am I inventive enough?

When Jesus Christ juxtaposed the old wine skins with the new wine skins (Matthew 9: 17), He was showing a new leadership prototype that he was bringing up. A leader should not be content with the current situation if he does not want to expire. A leader should be flexible enough to see change coming, embrace it and use it to his advantage. A leader should not be so complacent as to enjoy the current state of affairs to an extent that he forgets the future. Neither should he be overwhelmed by challenges, not to envision the opportunity ahead.

  • Do I have capacity?

A leader with capacity does not feel threatened by subordinates he leads. The late Dr Myles Monroe always said that leadership is your capacity to make yourself unnecessary. The leader should have the capacity big enough that he can’t hold it alone. The leader should be open-minded, and humble to pour himself into other people. If the organisation you are leading always needs your presence, you have failed in leadership. Some people are proud enough to profess that an institute will fail without their presence. Groom, mentor or coach other people to be as you are and even better.

Parting Point: John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) once said: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” It’s time to lead people to bigger and brighter heights by asking the right questions. It’s time to unleash our leadership prowess and potential!

Jonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and certified leadership/business trainer. He is the author of Inspiration for Success and Success Within Reach. Contact details: Tel: 0772 581 918. Email: jonah@classicmail.co.za. Twitter@jonahnyoni.

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