Authentic leadership is altruistic in nature, selfless, and servant-based.
A leader worth his or her salt should be one that works with the followers to set realistic goals aligned to the challenges of the time.
No leader can brag about being effective if their actions and aspirations are not aligned to the needs of the followers. In Kenya, for example, such goals would be the Big Four agenda that is hinged on Vision 2030: an aspiration that aims at reducing the percentage of those living below the poverty line.
Africa has come a long way on issues of governance. Although we take pride in the same, most leaders have transactional tendencies when executing their mandate - promising the followers “heaven” when seeking their votes.
The position is short-lived after the final tally is done. Many leaders itching to take the oath and start the journey of looking for ways to benefit themselves and their political allies through graft and other methods amount to abuse of office.
The followers become dissatisfied for a while then lured again during polls to vote the same crop of leaders back, and the cycle of poverty and desperation continues.
The remedy would be to create self-leaders across the country to the last man. Self-leadership occurs when a person believes in him or herself and is willing to take steps towards making a positive impact at a personal, community, and national level for public servants.
Self-leadership is the backbone of enhanced self-efficacy - believing that we possess what it takes to conquer any challenge ahead of us. It is premised on self-audit by leaders and followers.
Leaders should audit their environment to appreciate the expectations of the followers and be honest to execute the mandate bestowed on them by the expectant citizens.
The followers should be deliberate in articulating their expectations to the leaders as a way of setting standards for their performance; otherwise, lead to destructive leadership.
Destructive leadership occurs when followers are not aware of their rights or not willing to confront the leader. This is even when it is evident that the leadership is headed towards a dangerous cliff that will destroy both the leader and the followers. Such leadership thrives where the followers exhibit low-levels of self-awareness; failing to view themselves as people who deserve respect and quality leadership.
The Constitution guarantees fundamental rights and the basic-level of behaviour that the leaders should exhibit. It is backed by a penal code that tags each mischief to chastisement.
But how many of us play the tribal card when one of our own is arrested for flouting the provisions of the constitution? Self-leadership calls for self-control at all levels.
The leaders’ followers must not aim at short-term gratification, especially during the electioneering. Instead, they should exercise self-restraint and choose a leader who will deliver long-term social-economic development.
Leaders should apply the same control when in power - selflessly fulfilling their mandate without focusing on short-term gains that affect the good of the broader community.
I am in agreement with one writer who said that there can never be good leadership where both the leader and the follower are not in sync.
-The writer, Jotham Gichuhi, is an expert in leadership and risk management strategies
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