Leadership advice to President Mnangagwa

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WHEN then President Robert Mugabe tendered his resignation on Tuesday, it was like a dream to me. I had never seen any President other than Mugabe since birth.

By JONAH NYONI

What amazed me so much was how people celebrated into the night. Literally, one road was closed in Bulawayo as people gathered to celebrate. No police manned these spontaneous celebrations. No violence was recorded.

That alone brought more questions to me than answers. I did not know what to do, to cry, to scream, to jump, to talk to everyone, to hug everyone. It was a moment of great sweetness and hysteria at the same time. In writing this, I went into the streets and got a snapshot of the vox pop.

Don’t overstay your welcome

The best and the most important thing in leadership is to plan your exit as soon as you start your leadership role. Great leadership is the ability to make people execute your vision even way after you are gone.

The best way to do that is to pour yourself in others as a leader, impact your influence on them so that even when you are no longer needed someone may still execute your goals. Be wise enough to leave while you are still relevant and loved.

Policies must attract foreign investment

We have a serious economy or liquidity crisis in Zimbabwe. Simbarashe Majaja said: “Policies must be put in place that will attract foreign direct investment to make sure the economy is on the recovery trajectory.

Through industrialisation, we should resuscitate all critical industries which are currently in comatose state in order to avoid unnecessary imports. In agriculture, we must ensure all acquired farms are productive and be serious with the land audit.

In the mining sector, policies must attract flow of capital to increase production and ultimately exports thereafter beneficiation for more revenue from minerals”

Corruption must be dealt with decisively

Corruption is one of the biggest cancers that brought Zimbabwe to its knees.

Welcome Moyo said: “May the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission be given the liberty to exercise its noble duties without fear or favour so as to weed out all greedy malcontents within and without government. These have sucked the life out of our economic development. May the President publicly do a clean-up in the government of all who have unjustly and corruptly amassed wealth through abuse of office.”

Separate business from family

Anyone who is a leader would want to employ their relative, but that can be very dangerous. In the case of Mugabe, his wife was calling the shots, and anyone who dared cross her line was an enemy.
It would be hard if you are in business to confront your own wife and worse still to rebuke her in the boardroom, clearly knowing that you would meet her again in the bedroom. We should separate business and family.

Trust other people to lead

When we trust people, it is easy to entrust them with great responsibility. It’s also easy to empower them from being followers or workers to be leaders.

True leadership is trusting people enough and giving them the responsibility to take over from you.

We learn this principle from Jesus Christ. He trained 12 men who became his disciples.

The same men were able to perpetuate his goals even after he had gone to heaven. Never think you are the only one able to lead. If you want to prove this, leave now and tomorrow we will get a replacement.

Trust people even when someone could betray you

Out of the 12 disciples, if Jesus concentrated on eliminating Judas Iscariot who was to betray him, his mission would not have been accomplished.

Most leaders are concentrating on the bad people that might overthrow them and neglect the eleven people that will carry on the baton.

In leadership, there is someone that might betray your agenda. Never expend your energies on the betrayer but on your agenda.

Never cow people

Leadership is not about making people revere and worship you. Great leadership is when you see the need to love, grow, groom and develop people.

Companies have raised icons that are too powerful you can’t cross their lines. At the end, you raise the “yes men” followers. When you see people afraid and cowering from you then know you are not a leader but a despot. The new government should learn that and never make a similar mistake.

Never bully, intimidate, scare or frighten people.

Be surrounded by right people

One thing that we learned from former President Mugabe is that he surrounded himself with wrong people. As an outsider, I think most people that surrounded the President did not tell him the truth, but told him what he wanted to hear. In leadership, you would rather have genuine enemies that will tell you the truth than have friends that excite you with lies or shower you with praises.

Above all have great advisers President. One lady who chose to remain anonymous said: “The President requires a new bench of advisers, and should not recycle same old names that have failed the country. Advisers should not come only from Zanu PF, but from outside —intellects and technocrats”

Deliver through delegation

Delegation is important in leadership. There is a difference between delegation and nepotism.
Delegation deploys proper skills, creativity and retains great people. Before you delegate as a company leader, manager or CEO, you must trust. When you trust then you must empower. This gives confidence to your employees.

“Delegation is essential precisely because it goes directly to the bottom line — it has a huge impact on productivity, innovation and employee engagement and retention” (Jeremy Kourdi 2015:22).

Kourdi writes on six stages that are a cornerstone to delegation

Stage 1: Prepare to delegate

Planning is one greatest process in leadership, as it clarifies goals, your vision, mission, and objectives. This helps you to identify people that you will need to fulfil the goals.

Stage 2: Get the right people for the task

A round peg fits well into a round hole. Understand people you have and their best skills, potentials. Wrong people in positions will douse enthusiasm. Talented people in wrong positions get frustrated. Graduate Zimunya said: “People should be rewarded for their competencies and the environment should promote people to exercise their abilities. Incompetency should mean reassignment or resignation.”

Stage 3: Engage people

As a leader, team players need to understand your thinking. Don’t just assume people know what is expected of them. Allow them to ask questions for clarity.

Constructive criticism must not be seen as opposition or revolt. Learn from it. Know that in delegating you are not making people do your bidding. Accept ideas from other people even if they may be your subordinates.

Stage 4: Provide resources

Provide your people with necessary resources and support. Identification of necessary skills and talent is not adequate without the tools to execute goals and objectives.

Stage 5: Monitor progress

Leadership has to be answerable and accountable. When leadership or authority has been delegated, we should monitor it. Be clear on key result areas, standards, deadlines, and targets so that your team stays focused.

Stage 6: Review and Reward Progress

Always review your progress. Discuss your results. Know what works well and what does not work. The other reason that could have made Zimbabwe continue for 37 years on a freefall is because leadership did not review progress.

Servant leadership

Leadership is never about creating and maintaining a system, but it’s about loving, and leading people. Servant leadership is about serving people.

With servant leadership comes the power to influence. Influence is when people willingly change their minds and follow your great examples for the best for humanity. Servant leaders hear the voices of the people on the ground. Nomagugu Mpofu said: “The President should become a leader we can trust and respect, not a leader we are scared of”.

Be future oriented

As Zimbabweans, we had been submerged in history and we seemed to lose sight of the future. History is not bad, but history should never be overemphasised like our former President did. The worst thing is to sit on your laurels.

What happens is that even the very thing that you did successfully will start to rot.

One young person, Nombeko Ngwenya said: “We need fresh blood in governing bodies, young minds with fresh ideas. There is an urgent need to revisit and restructure the education system. This also might mean firing or recalling Education minister Lazarus Dokora.”

Good corporate governance

Good corporate governance is key and should be enforced. Anyone found on the wrong side must be prosecuted.

Furthermore, Nombeko Ngwenya said that the President must stop, “politicising every institute in this country such as sport, business and churches. These should operate as separate and independent entities”.

Parting Point: Napoleon Hill (1953: 20) in the e-book Think and Grow Rich said: “Real leaders of the world always have been men who harnessed, and put into practical use the intangible, unseen forces of unborn opportunity, and have converted those forces [or impulses of thought], into skyscrapers, cities, factories, airplanes, automobiles, and every form of convenience that makes life more pleasant.”

lJonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and certified leadership/business trainer. He is the author of Inspiration for Success and Success Within Reach. Contact details: Tel: 0772 581 918. Email: [email protected] [email protected]

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