Source: Transformative leadership taking centre stage | The Financial Gazette May 17, 2018
By Denias Kagande
IN December 2017 I was privileged to attend a workshop on transformative leadership for implementing public sector reforms in Africa which was arranged by ESAMI in Dubai, UAE. The session was conducted by Prof Apollonia Kerenge, the chief consultant and DCCT at ESAMI and it was compelling and I would encourage prospective leaders to seek more expertise in this area of study.
She enunciated, in no uncertain terms, that traditional public service was centralised, administrative, hierarchical and bureaucratic and requires administrators and managers to do the right thing by following guidelines or following command!
Dubai was not ordinarily selected as just a venue but a case study of the results of transformative leadership, from being a humble fishing village to the world’s most iconic metropolises. Today’s Dubai proudly stands as a premier business and tourist destination offering highly sophisticated infrastructure, best in class shopping, dining and leisure facilities, awe-inspiring skyscrapers including Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and most of all, crime-free and expatriate-friendly environment. I came to the sobering conclusion that African countries should initiate transformative leadership as happened in Dubai. Coming to imagine how the ruler of Dubai successfully transformed a sleepy desert small town to what it is today was fascinating, just like seeing a black cow, eating green grass and producing white milk! African leaders need to think and act for themselves, repudiate their mistakes and advertently enact lessons from them.
What is leadership?
It is the ability to scan the internal and external environment and determine key strategies to make organisations effective, and engage staff in setting the desired objectives and the ability to mobilise staff to achieve goals using available resources with commitment, enthusiasm and pride.
A transformative leader is one who inspires, challenges, engages, develops and aligns resources accordingly. Transformational leaders are honest and have a growth mindset, they are creative and take measured risks in setting authentic noble visions. The word impossible is extinct in transformational leaders’ dictionaries. Despite the challenges they may face, strong faith, patience, persistence, perseverance and determination will help in bringing visions to reality.
It is a rule of the thumb that, to transform, one needs to be a strategic thinker. Strategic thinkers are future based, they anticipate change and look for opportunities that may arise. Strategic thinkers are always curious, they are interested in what is going on throughout their departments, organisations, industries and the whole environment at large. Strategic thinkers are long term focused, they are willing to invest today in return for a better outcome tomorrow.
Why strategic thinking?
The purpose of Strategic Thinking (ST) is to create an action plan that is coherent and unifying. ST is all about putting an integrative framework for decisions about the direction of the country or organisation. To do this, ST uses internal and external data, qualitative synthesis of opinions and perceptions. ST is conscious of implicit and explicit factors, proactive and defines competitive domain for the organisation’s strategic advantage.
Different leadership for results entails focusing on what to do to produce positive results according to the vision and the mandate. This can be achieved using different styles and attributes such as collaborative leadership, emotional intelligence, authoritative leadership, coaching/supportive leadership, transformative leadership and transactional leadership. Authoritative leadership is commonly used in Africa but it has not yielded desired results because it is used to exercise power and authority.
I am opined to differentiate between transactional and transformational leadership. Transactional leadership places emphasis on managerial theories. Social exchange emphasises on the key roles of a leader, group, and performance. Reward and punishment system builds healthy business relationships.
Transformational leadership motivates followers to do more than is expected, to often find reasons and strengths to persist in completing particular tasks despite difficulties or delays in achieving the pending objectives. Transformational leadership put the group’s common cause ahead of individual needs. We are excited in Zimbabwe to see transformative leadership taking centre stage.
It is imperative for us to understand that the role of a leader is to mentor, coach and partner the staff. Above all, a good leader should be able to create leadership at all levels.
Frontline or team leadership ― One person (the leader) is responsible for creating specific outcomes usually within a given time scale and with given resources through their own actions and those of their immediate followers.
Operational leadership ― involves day-to-day operations within the organisation and is a major determinant of its culture and climate.
Strategic leadership is all about ‘big picture’ issues such as change, vision, translating that vision into purpose, effective communication, and the behaviour of the CEO and senior management team.
In conclusion let me end by highlighting the six abilities of wise transformational leaders;
*Judge goodness; from random observation with constant influx.
*Grasp the essence; understand key issues of the moment and act on it
*Create shared context; Idealist who will do what, he/she believes in, good for community and society
*Communicate the essence; a master story teller using a language that people can understand
*Exercise political power; spur people to action, political mobilisation
*Foster practical wisdom; a teacher who imparts wisdom
The road to success and excellence is endless. Keep walking, keep working for the better!
Denias Kagande is a public procurement specialist consultant, fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. A transformative leader and author of public procurement articles. He is passionate about building strategic leaders and public administrators. Feedback: +263 772324896; Email: email@example.com Twitter:@dkagande1