A Good Leader Will Explain, Teach and Inspire.
In 1973, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere defined a good leader as someone who will “explain, teach, and inspire.” Those words by Nyerere all those decades ago ring true even today. We need leaders who will explain there vision, teach and show the way forward and inspire people to realize that vision.
Leaders who fail to exemplify the above qualities risk not seeing their visions come to light or find themselves leaning towards autocratic rule in order to fulfill their vision. The problem of leaning towards autocratic rule is that the human cost you leave behind tends to overshadow any positive milestones which might be achieved.
There is an African proverb which says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Sustainable development can only be achieved if the leader chooses to go together with his or her people and the only way that can be done is if the leader is able to explain, teach and inspire. Once a leader chooses to walk alone they leave a path of pain and despair along the way.
It is also imperative that a leader realizes that economic advancements should go hand in hand with social and political development. Too often leaders who fail to explain, teach and inspire choose to focus on economic development whilst ignoring social and political development. Often enough even economic development is not achieved. This creates a nation of people full of resentment and anger towards their leaders.
A good leader also needs the right lieutenants under them who are as equally inspiring and genuinely dedicated to the cause. Without the right people under any leader then the message will fail to trickle down to the rank and file officials who are key to pushing a leader’s agenda forward. As former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the U.S.A Tip O’neil once said, “All politics are local” hence a leader must insure that their representatives at all levels from top to bottom are on the same page with them.
Finally, in order for a leader to explain, teach and inspire they need empathy. With empathy, a leader understands that their people have personal goals and ambitions and it is up to the leader to tie the ambitions of their people with their grand vision for the country. With empathy a leader can better read the mood of the nation.
It is encouraging to see President Samia do her best to live by these words. It is my hope that as days go by she will be able to explain, teach and inspire all of us towards her vision for the country. She is off to a good start with her regular meetings with different groups in society such as the elders, women and the youth. As she captures the wants and needs of her people she can better create an ideal vision acceptable to her citizens and inspire as into action. And as the president rounds up her appointments it is my hope she has around her people who share in her vision and are willing participants of that vision.
Thomas J. Kibwana