The world has seen some of the greatest leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, and many others. These leaders have led with purpose, selflessly and with a mindset of the “greater good.”
However, though significant inroads have been made in some aspects, more could be done. We live in a world where there are accelerated changes, uncertainty, global complexity, and instability. Organizations, whether for profit or non-profit are dynamic entities that are turbulent and forever changing. For example, besides organizational challenges, the world continues to experience endless social unrest, political conflicts and wars, failures of governments and states, poverty and the marginalization of the poor and less fortunate. Economic failures by governments and entities have become the norm rather than the exception. Financial institutions have been accused of oppressive lending systems and subjecting people to mechanisms which generate “greater poverty, exclusion and dependence.” Those in leadership whether corporates, churches or political entities are more self-serving than serving the people that have placed them in power.
These challenges are not only prevalent in other countries or continents, but are also prevalent in African countries like Zimbabwe. In the recent years at the backdrop of the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy are challenges such as corruption, mistrust, exclusion, and high levels of poverty. Families, companies, schools, churches, public sector and non-profit organizations have suffered the consequences. At the center of these challenges is a lack of effective leadership in many sectors.
There are many books on the topic of leadership and countless experts and self-proclaimed gurus who speak on this topic. Yet with all this at our fingertips, we still suffer from leadership deficiency in our nations, workplaces, churches and homes. Many of today’s leaders believe their position mandates their influences, rather than their influence enabling them to be effective in their position. Many lead by forced coercion and are focused on self-serving ways of working.
All hope is not lost for many nations and organizations, even in a country like Zimbabwe. Pockets of great leadership exist and some people are rising up to the challenge and not solely relying on the government or those in power to make positive changes. However, to be where we need to be, as a global village, more could be done to improve the status quo. These multiple challenges require multiple solutions and approaches.
It takes a leader who is equipped with the right blend of leadership and management skills to operate at a different magnitude with a different mindset. They must have a total paradigm shift towards leadership. The fate of future business, families, churches, nations and society rests, in part, on how well leaders can anticipate and manage change, demonstrate authentic leadership inwardly and outwardly, maximize the power of their teams, and how effectively they lead and embrace the social context.
There are three basic levels an effective and influential should focus on:
Leaders need to recognize and appreciate that in today’s environment, becoming a world-class leader involves much more than becoming a more proficient manager or a better strategic thinker. Few individuals reach their full capacity as leaders, but not because they lack technical abilities, rather, they haven’t embraced the fundamental journey of self-discovery, introspective thinking, and self-growth to transform themselves and their organizations. Unfortunately, leadership development is often seen as an external process. We tend to think of leadership as being about a person in charge who wields power, stands apart, and “acts” on others (followers) behalf. Our view of leadership tends to center around visible individuals and their talents, contributions, and measurable achievements. Because the impact of leadership is externally manifested as specific results and quantifiable outcomes, the notion that leadership development is tightly linked to a quiet, often private, inward journey is frequently overlooked
In turbulent times when the convictions of leaders are tested, leaders must look to their inner fundamental values and beliefs as the ultimate source of deep-seated purpose and truth when making business decisions. To effectively lead others, leaders must be clear about the principles upon which they base their actions. Great leaders know that leadership, at its core, is an affair of the heart and not the head. They are connected to an energy or spirit deep within themselves that is the source of their leadership.
Their values, dreams, hunger for growth, ability to overcome adversity, and ultimately their transformation all come from this energy/spirit. The “Leading Self” part of the conference will; therefore, provide participants with skills and techniques on how they can go on a journey of self-discovery and self-knowing and will focus on aspects of self-awareness and identifying their motive drivers, as well as their behavioral, and communication styles. This part of the conference will enable leaders to reframe some of their assumptions and embrace internal qualities that will enable them to influence and lead others, transform their organizations and communities in a beneficial and sustainable way.
The “Leading Others” theme centers on how leaders strategically manage other components of the organizations such as, customers, team members, partners, stakeholders, systems, and processes. The objective for successful leaders is to shape organizations to be more nimble and flexible, less hierarchical, and more networked. In other words, an organization must be better organized to deliver value. For the purposes of this section of the conference, the presenters will concentrate specifically on how leaders can engage different stake holders by working collaboratively, and in unity. But above all – leaders are encouraged to lead through a “servant-leader” approach.
This part tries to answer questions such as: “How do leaders effectually interact, engage, communicate with employees, or other stakeholders, set directions for them, and involve them in setting direction? What methods can they adopt that can tap into their team’s intellect to create an environment of outside thinking, creativity, and innovation? How can they create a culture of win-win and inclusion? How do they create this culture sustainably?
Leaders must be able to build trust and confidence within their teams, and need to be genuine and effective in their communications. With change, anxiety, and, at times, confusion, leaders must bring a level of certainty about the path forward and foster it. Simultaneously, they must influence their teams to transform personal values and self-concepts and move them to a higher level of aspirations and an increase in their performance expectations.
Although much attention is being paid to how companies deal with environmental issues, social responsibility extends beyond just this one area. Focusing on sustainability means looking beyond short-term results to consider the longer-term implications of decisions as they relate not just to the environment, but also to health, safety, and other areas of concern. It involves taking actions that go beyond regulations to build controls into the business environment—embedding social responsibility into business processes and procedures and taking responsibility for the impact decisions might have on the workforce.
Secondly, this also speaks to how organizations can collaborate with competitors, partners in the distribution supply chain, and customers. It’s important to realize that the essence of doing business is changing; organizations cannot always go it alone if they want to remain profitable. There are times when they would have to co-create with customers or join forces with competitors in order to serve the customer. And it is also not only about making profits, but about making significant impact and contribution in the communities they do business.
To join the discussion – join us at the Forge Leadership Conference Harare Zimbabwe on August 23 and August 24. For more details visit: www.almentainternational.com/events/
Contact: 263 (0)774 462 007, +263 (0)772 715 989; or +263 (0)782 261 351