Revolution is not a spontaneous action but well planned and immaculately executed series of events that a design to bring fundamental social change and alteration in power relations. It is obvious the planning and controlling execution of the plan is function of leadership. The African working class is challenged to develop its own class conscious leadership. There can never be a sustainable revolution without a revolutionary party, a revolutionary party without revolutionary program, a revolutionary program without revolutionary leadership and revolutionary leadership without revolutionary theory.
Error of Relying on Brilliant Individual
The history of the African revolution shows the criticality of leadership. What happen to revolutionary process when Marcus Garvey was persecuted, Nkrumah was ousted, Lumumba was killed, Malcolm X was assassinated and Sobukwe was imprisoned? What happened to parties they led that had correct political line and a clear programme? Where are their organisations now? Are their organisations playing any significant role?
The African revolutionary organisations has been notorious overly reliant on brilliant leaders and not developing and maturing institutional that can operate beyond that brilliant individual. African working class has made its defeat very easy by organising with a sheep and Sheppard formation. The enemy removes the Sheppard and sheep disperse. Revolutionary movement must be organised in a herd of predictors’ formation where the head of pack is replaced in event of weakness without disruption in hunting. The African working class must internalise Nkrumah assertion that freedom can never be give to any class as a gift but class has to take it therefore leadership will not imported from allies to lead the class to freedom.
Function of Leader
Leadership is science that has to learned, developed and mastered. Like all other sciences it has an arsenal of principles and tools that support each other. Leadership is a process of inspiring others to work hard to accomplish an important task. It is to create, inspire commitment and direct effort towards a common purpose. It is an art of motivating and mobilising the physical resources and intellectual property of an organisation. Leadership is not a position but action, responsibility and service. Leader then is someone who can get ordinary people to do extraordinary things for the organisation by inspiring and motivating others towards a common goal. There development areas that revolutionary leaders need to actively improve to get to the point of influencing people to do what otherwise will have never done.
Leaders must have a sense on mission. A mission being an expression of purpose, the way an organisation intends to fulfil its unique role that is vision and values. Leaders must craft and communicate mission. The leader must be first on displaying signs of being fanatically about the organisation’s mission. Studying successful revolutionaries all display sense of mission through defined analysis and communicating revolutionary theory. It those sets of clear outcome based focus that ensures that leaders are not distracted by personal opportunities in their quest for building an enduring legacy. It reasonable expectation that the organisation must leave beyond its leader therefore it is a duty of the leader to set goals, parameters and modus operands that assure sustainability and ability to meet its future operational needs.
A leader must inquisitiveness and perpetually seek understand of herself, her constituency, her allies, her environment and her enemies. It always been said the education is power. The African working class should not confuse education and certification. Education that is requirement for leadership that is to acquiring of skills, techniques and knowledge. Intellectual food for growth is read, exploring, learn for other experiences and search for knowledge beyond your comfort zone of things her persuasion. Knowledge utilise is power and its worth is more than money.
It is impossible to be a good leader without having been a good follower and submitting to mentorship. Learning is prerequisite for leadership which means a lot of listening. Aspiring leaders must actively be seeking excellent leaders for mentorship. It must be mentioned many aspiring leader disappear on the scene because of their lust of short term material benefits instead of seeking wisdom and paying learning dues. Leadership is learned by leading, all the theory absorption does fully prepare one for task of leadership, and it is by starting with small organisation or taking responsibility for part of organisation that make ready for big things. Ignorant leader is dangerous for the survival of the organisation therefore continuous self improvement, remaining critical of success and never allowing the sense of having arrived is a must.
A leader must be rigid on matters of principle. There are laws of nature that govern the universe which a referred to as principles. Principles are different from conventions, habits or traditions. The violation of principle guarantees failure. It is respect of principles that allows a leader to make decisions that suits that whole rather than the self and principles make one to remain credible in eyes of friends or foes alike. It is the respect of principles and continuous challenging of the tradition that break new bearers of success and allow non-conformity while maintaining a clear sense of mission. It is within a principled environment that followers feel safety and comfort to take risk of behave of the organisation. Principled organisation and leader do not suppress conflict but resolve conflict speedily and justly.
The leaders must lead from the front, be exemplary and do not ask other what they can not do. The revolutionary leaders must stick out their neck by spell out their goals to be judged on them. They must be prepared to face problems and be accountable for their actions. Accountability is not a choice but it is responsibility of leader. The understanding that leadership is acceptance of responsibility and not rank pushes leaders must meet their targets. This character demands from a leader to be hold high standards of work ethics, hygiene, personal health, modesty social behaviour and revolutionary morality in line with mission.
Leaders that surround themselves with weak advisors so that their words are undisputed are guaranteeing their failure. That goes for leaders that surround themselves with advisors that do not share the same dream. Leader must earn trust of his followers and cherish it. It is through trust that members of organisation are able to work optimal. It is a responsibility of a leader to build a fanatic team that will happily die for the mission.
The leader must delegate meaning work and decision making to appropriate level of the organisation that obviously means that a leader must have high expectation of members. The leader must ensure all reprimands and rewards support the mission. Members of team must be rewarded or reprimanded for performance, effort and enthusiasm. It is advisable for the leader to praise member publicly and reprimand privately. It is advised that a leader must actively look for the opportunity praise specific deed of members. This is process of a leader duplicating and multiply exponentially is performance. Great revolution and revolutionary parties have collapse due to lack of success and lack of teamwork.
Leaders must note that there are thing like food, money and availability of resources the can never motivate the team but their absence are major de-motivating factors. Leader should harness opportunity to ensure financial sustainability of their organisations.
It is commonly said plan the work and work the plan. The leader must not waste precious time on trivialities and confrontation that does not contribute to mission. Strategy development is the duty of the leader therefore a leader must be skilled in matters of strategy or make sure that there is strategist in the team. The movement through the leader need to control of the entity, timing and character of engagement which are all matters of strategy. Leaders should not confuse revolutionary theory and strategy. Revolution theory or the mission is the base of strategy but not strategy. There are two other element in strategy that are equally important and definitely not the same thing namely the strategic planning and strategic execution. Leader must ensure that the strategy development process in not clouded is excitement and emotionally overdosed. The execution program must be smart that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
It is in a responsible manner that a leader advances to new frontiers running a calculated risk of failure and distraction. It is a matter of importance that the leader inculcates the culture of courage and risk taking as it said the fortune favours the brave. Organisational stagnation causes conflicts therefore it is a matter of survival for leader to keep the organisation breaking new grounds. It should be said that conflicts are normal in an organisation but confrontation postponed with stakeholders is threatens the foundations of organisation. Leaders must generate a breed of cadreship that is permanently hungry for entering road less travelled.
Leader must nurture the relationship with the constituency and understand all force against or for her mission in order to avoid any surprises by the enemy. The art of war teaches that a leader who knows her forces or the enemy can win half of the battles, a leader who do not know her force or the enemy will sure loose all her battle and the one who conversant with strength and weakness of her forces also know the enemy is guaranteed victory on every battle. Many so called leaders do not like listening to the people they suppose to serving. It is vital that a leader knows details about their constituency. It is known to the masters of warfare that general does not seek victory from her force but get it from manipulating the environment.
Leaders must understand that imperativeness of mastering of all the tools of the trade which making revolution and find out what are the latest tools out there to accomplish the mission. Do not think far just understand that technology is the body of organised knowledge ready to be used. A leader must be focussed on maintaining the consistency of the mission while adapting to ever changing tools. Leader’s fixation with technology must not be for technology sake but it must in the quest for better tools and the creation of new tools to advance the mission, revolutionary mission cannot be met by existing technology. Current tools can at best bring reforms and little conform is same conditions.
Organisational support is directly proportional to its communication. The mission frequently and properly communicated is consuming like big ball of fire. The power of communicate is display by notion that lies repeated will be accepted by most as the truth. Communication of success and challenges has to be used to motive leaders forces and the general constituency. Communication has to be utilised to deceive and confuse the enemy. The biggest mistake leaders making in communication is not distinguish target of communication. Weak leaders believe their public relation communication bites that have been designed for external stakeholder to reflect only positive of their organisation as absolute status of their entity thus creating illusions in their minds and guarantee the misjudgements. The revolutionary message is lost in complexity and jargon. Successful leader speak the language of audience in terms of aspiration, dialect, tone and level of understanding. The rule is to keep it simple and frequent.
A true leader is the one who sets an example worthy of following and is a servant of the people and instrument of history. She is someone who knows the way, goes the way and show the way. Great leaders see themselves as instrument of a greater mission whilst ordinary leaders see the greater mission as an instrument of their personal glory. It is unfortunate that many leaders stay for to long in the seat of power even when their vision is blurring, their energy has been sapped, their voice no longer command respect and their has been intellect has deteriorated. Leaders who time has past begin to flounder and turn against their own people.
Former President, Pan Africanist Youth Congress
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