Good leaders rise to occasion during hard times

This article was published in today’s People Daily, Read on!

We are in tumultuous economic times when Wanjiku is trying to make sense of the ever growing costs that are ballooning her monthly expenditure.

From increased costs of kerosene for lighting and cooking to the indirect effect that the high petrol prices has on the cost of transport and travel, Wanjiku is being forced to dig deeper and deeper into her shallow pockets.

We are at the last quarter of the year and her son will be sitting his final year examinations.

That means additional costs because she needs to provide  better nutrition to ensure her son’s comfort and peace of mind during the examinations period.

Unfortunately, with all the increases on her daily expenses, the business front does not bring any good tidings. Her daily expenses for her mitumba business have soared, thus significantly reducing her meagre profits.

To Wanjiku, there is seemingly not the political will to support the business environment. She doesn’t see any value-add from the country’s leadership.

Listening to John Maxwell, an accomplished author and speaker on leadership, last Thursday at Radisson Blu, it made me ponder about the leadership principles under the eyeballs of our current leaders.

Maxwell was emphatic that leadership is about being intentional, adding value and living the transformation. From the talk, it became clear to me that a leader cannot take people where he has not been.

It is all about personal growth and development, living good values and seeking to add value to others. Leaders who do not seek to add value to those they lead mostly tend to be manipulative.                         

Maxwell recounted a story of when the CEO of Time Warner asked him to write about business ethics. Hesitant to delve into his writing shoes, his problem was the topic. He said: “There’s nothing like business ethics, it’s all about ethics, in general, that’s lacking.”

It is, therefore, important to work on personal development first. Being ethical as an individual first would naturally influence the ethics of the organisation one owns or works for.

When we look at the success of a company or a country, what is the place of leadership?

As Robin Sharma in his book The leader who had no title points out, “Companies that invest in their people and hire top talent to bring up a cluster of leaders, will build better teams and speed their rate of innovation. Conversely, their rivals will be shrinking their training budgets and laying off.”

Even in turbulent times, successful companies understand that when we go to work, we are on stage, therefore we need to perform and dazzle the audience.

He further says that anyone can be a star when the economy is strong and the competition is weak and your customers are loyal. Difficult times are the ones that reveal what we are made of and the kind of leaders we are.

Back to what Wanjiku is going through in these difficult times. The leaders need to rise to the occasion and prove that as the economy climbs the steep mountain, it is not all doom and gloom.

All Wanjiku needs is an assurance that our leaders are alive to the challenges and are seeking solutions for the greater good of all citizens.

To our leaders, yes we understand that we are in tough times. But remember these are the times that breed the best of you. What you resist will persist but what you befriend you begin to transcend.

As you pass bills in Parliament, have Wanjiku in mind. Be intentional and add value.

Wanjiku and the rest of us can only peg on the hope that the launch of the leading young leadership programme today, with the aim of coaching young leaders will bear fruits in the near future.  So, roll the dice our dear leaders.

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