HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsWhen leadership matters

When leadership matters



It’s undeniable we are living in troubled and tempestuous times and as leaders, we need to take the reins and lead. What do leaders do in a crisis, and more specifically in an environment like Zimbabwe? We need to make strong choices as leaders to serve better. Leadership matters the most in hard situations.

When you value people, you can start leading. When you value people, you lead from the heart. Leading people using book knowledge gives us a system and structure in leadership, but there is more to leadership than that. People are seeking people that lead from the heart. People are willing to give you their hand if you give them your heart. We have many bosses that love to control and command and never think of how other people feel. If you don’t care as a leader, you don’t mind who you crush along the way.

We need to be aware of the situation so as to have a proper context and lead with relevance. “Contextual leadership is about the ability to see the big picture.” John Maxwell (2020). How aware are you of the immediate micro and macro environment? Can you read people’s needs, plights, and concerns? When you are a leader you must know all that to lead effectively. Leaders who don’t take concern of that ultimately become insensitive and irrelevant.

A leader has to communicate effectively. Every follower and the lowly want to hear from the leader. Communication should be clear. In times of crisis, the leader has to say something to encourage and take people to the next level.

When we live in a dysfunctional country, we need strategic alliances that will help us get out of the quagmire. The worst people around every leader are ‘yes’ people. They are good to send round, but never good for true progress. Bridgette Hyacinth said, “I quickly learned loyalists and sycophants were appreciated, while realists were punished. Building a culture on yes employees means you fail”. Every leader needs people that will say the truth, even if truth pains at times.

Cast your leadership
In leadership, you need to develop other leaders. How do you develop other leaders? It involves modelling, mentoring, motivating, empowering, and monitoring them. When we fail as leaders, at times we would have failed to grow people that would in turn contribute to our leadership later. If you lead people, grow them to your level and help them take over leadership. In African leadership and politics in general, we have failed to grow other leaders. When you don’t grow other leaders, the danger is that when you leave you position, you leave with your vision. The problem is that most leaders are fighting and competing for that seat and they want to get all the credit.

Leadership has to connect with three fundamental things; intuition, people, and team players. In times of a crisis, the leaders depend on their intuition. Crisis crushes some of the formulas we know, and there is no formula on how to win. The leader needs to connect with people. If you don’t connect with people, you are definitely out of touch and are just running alone without anyone following.

Connect with their heart. In times of crisis, people live in fear, so they are looking forward to being encouraged. The fact is, the leaders also will be in fear, but what separates leaders from all others is that despite fear, the leader comes out and faces the enemy. That is what makes them a leader.

The wheels of change never stop turning. Thinking those winds of change won’t come is a misnomer. However, we should know that leaders do not have all the answers. Our context keeps changing and it’s never enough to use a playbook. As a leader, being clear that you don’t have all answers liberates them; you are not a solution man. Laws of operation are constantly changing and that takes a pliable and agile leader.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading