Either support our leaders or use the occasion to change them!

leadership_21x16The problem with having the power to make appointments and decisions which affect society is when you decide, as a leader, not to play it safe, do not think like the rest of society or are insensitive to their concerns and the appointments prove to be inappropriate! It naturally leaves one open to serious criticism!

Being a leader can be a lonely business. Society or institutions expect so much from you and ironically as they live in the immediate present you, on the other hand, have to live in the future in order to see decisions taken today having relevancy tomorrow.

It is so important to have a vision which can be communicated, believed and accepted by the people we serve and in many ways this represents the easy part of leadership!

The art of great leadership is in transforming that vision into reality and that can only be done with putting in place the appropriate people who share your vision, have the loyalty and competence to undertake the job at hand and above all, also have the integrity to last through time!

The difficulty is in being able to operate with 20/20 vision i.e. decisions and personnel have to be able to last or stand the test of time. Great leaders operate ahead of the curve and are constantly pro-active. Their qualities, beyond a point, cannot be taught and they must be prepared to suffer as the “Doubting Thomas’s” attack their integrity and credibility.

When I was Chairman of Kotoko i experienced this as I sought to introduce a new platform (now the accepted norm) of training, playing, sponsorship, contracts, medicare, welfare management and coaching all of which involved breaking down old structures and building new. When i fired an expatriate coach before an Africa Cup quarter final match and introduced Ralf Zumdick, I was bashed and attacked constantly in many quarters and was only vindicated when we won!

The same occurred at MNET when we first started the fight to make soccer the big deal on the channels rather than Rugby and Cricket as well as our drive to make Ghana the leader in their major events like African Showcase (only in Ghana), Face of Africa (initial shows only in Ghana) and monopolising the African film awards in SA.

Other examples could be given in other areas. The fact of the matter is that decisions taken today which have relevance for tomorrow are tough ones which leaders must take and which, if successful will vindicate you. Conversely if wrong, will destroy you!

We are all at a crucial crossroads, we must either support our leaders or use the occasion to change them!

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