Why leadership is complex task

  • Mahalu says it needs doing things beyond instincts
  • Giving everything for others, putting yourself last

THE truth is leadership is a complex and tough position to be in and sometimes demands you to do things beyond personal primordial instincts.

“As a leader you must give everything for others while putting yourself last. It means dropping the ego for the benefit of those you serve. This is where it becomes difficult for some people to balance,” recounts Prof Costa Mahalu, who served in various positions in the government.

He noted, the aspiration to become a leader should be motivated by the service to the people outside and not for personal gains.

One thing that a leader must always keep in mind is that people look at him or her as an exemplary in everything.

To make a good and exemplary leadership is a task of every leader.

“Leadership is not about having exceptional academic qualifications but knowing first yourself that you are a leader and that you need to work for the people,” said Prof Mahalu.

He added, “During our time as young leaders we looked at those who preceded us as role models, like first President of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and other Pan Africanist leaders.”

Former leaders offer very good references particularly in shaping young leaders in developing good leadership qualities, which are fundamental in serving the people well.

He said a leader should develop leadership objectives aimed at bringing about development of the people regardless of their social and economic differences.

He said all people created by God are equal and this must be a point of departure for a good leader in serving better all the people.

“Your leadership eyes should not look at the differences of the people but take them as they are and that they are endowed with different talents that are fundamental in making your leadership a success. You should not divide but unite them,” he noted.

Prof Mahalu said a leader should use the talents of the people for their benefits and the development of the whole society.

“Don’t discourage anybody in the group you lead because of their differences or weaknesses, but take them together as your own,” remarked Prof Mahalu.

For example, he said, there are people in the community who are good at making gossips instead of focusing on development issues.

He said it is the task of the leader to look at ways of handling such issues by showing them love, uniting them and building a team work.

“One of the obligations of a leader is to build a high-performing team that delivers results and it’s impossible to build a high-performing team unless you can challenge, coach and confront your people to bring out their best.

Strong and committed leaders focus at building team capability and performance above any fear, anxiety or discomfort they may experience,” he noted.

He said during their leadership time, the Tanzania National Services played a fundamental role in shaping most of them to be good leaders.

Prof Mahalu said most of the students who joined military training at the National Service came from different schools across the country and had one common thing that all are Tanzanians and this helped them to befriend at short period of time.

“Every evening we assembled for a seminar on political issues stating where is the country coming from and going, learn the history of the country. Thus apart from the physical training, we had also training on the country’s political affairs,” he noted.

The training received including physical and intellectual gave to participants some important insights on what a good leader should be.

Therefore, Prof Mahalu remarked that the National Service played a significant role in creating a class of future and patriotic leaders.

When youths express their aspirations to be leaders, they should state clearly their objectives on what they wish to achieve namely to be leaders who will move Tanzania from one stage to the other.

Young leaders are currently doing good job because their environment has changed tremendously due to technology.

Essentially, there is no leadership gap between old leaders and young leaders as it is said. What is needed is for the old leaders not to be too much rigid and young leaders on the other put themselves in a position to learn from the old leaders.

Young leaders currently have profound knowledge due to the presence of technology, they learn a lot from different parts of the world.

However, being a leader today is arguably far more complex than they’ve ever been as one faces rapidly changing environment that require innovation, new ideas and more of an understanding of people than ever before.

Furthermore, a good leader, according to Prof Mahalu should always remove or avoid things which divide the people, but always look at things that unite them.

He said at times, there are people who have difficult characters in the community but a leader should focus on bringing harmony by becoming a symbol of unity.

In certain situations, a leader needs to be humble in order to win those people who are hard and difficult and bring them to a team or build teamwork.

“A leader should avoid giving commands always as a ruler but should engage people, listen to their views and opinions on what should be done to lead them well,” he explained.

He added, “We cannot come up with a leadership formula stating that to be a good leader you have to apply this or that but leadership qualities and skills need to be developed overtime.”

A good leader should avoid all forms of discrimination, individualism and things that deprive people from getting justice..instead should be humble, good listener and who can know what the society wants.

A leader, recounts Prof Costa Mahalu, is constantly at a risk of not being loved by those whom he or she leads.

“This is also one of the most difficult areas to overcome, but ultimately, your job is to deliver results. This implies that you have to make decisions that not everyone is going to like and you can only do that if you get comfortable with conflict,” he explained.

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