Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba new year message:
As we prepare to start a brand-new year tomorrow, I wish to reflect on leadership as promised in my first article. And I wish to do so in honour of my late father Mr. Simon Chisha Harry Kalaba who served as Bahati MP for 17 years from 1974 to 1991 and from whom I learnt an unforgettable lesson that leadership is at best a lonely endeavour. No matter how big your team, sometimes it’s just about you. You are all you have, meaning that at some critical moments, all you need is to look inside yourself for motivation and inspiration in order for you to be able to inspire others to be the best they could be. This is the grand calling of every leader. When Jesus showed up at Peter’s boat and asked him to follow him, it appears like Peter was too careless to abandon his business, his career and his way of life to follow a stranger on a mission he didn’t even understand. But the Bible says he told Peter that “I will make you a fisher of men”. In short, Jesus showed Peter a vision of the next big thing in his life and therein lies the great undertone that defines and distinguishes great leaders.
As we enter 2017, It should not be business as usual. We need to search within ourselves as a nation and begin to demand excellence at both private and government levels. Tolerating mediocrity and laziness should be frowned upon and internalised through self-reflection. When Patrice Lumumba rose to make a life changing speech on Congo’s Independence Day, a speech that eventually even led to his violent death 7 months later, he had nowhere else to search for courage and inspiration except to consult his conscious and immerse himself in the abyss of self.
A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him look stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own. I am reminded of the words of Nelson Mandela who once said: “A leader…is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the nimblest go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.” A good leader has wisdom enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. In this regard, Leadership success at the highest level comes down to one question: ‘Can you make the choice that your happiness can actually come from someone else’s success?
I know for sure that positive feedback is always easy to take but a true leader knows that the day the men under you stop bringing you their problems is the day you stop leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. As leaders, we need to be tolerant to negative feedback and you as the led need not relent in criticizing us when necessary. A man who wants to lead the Choir must learn how to turn his back on the crowd. He must learn to trust that the crowd will always have his back covered, therefore, my people, bring your observations to our attention.
Anyone can find it easy to take people where they want to go. But a great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but where they need to be. Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; but i have learnt that great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar. I therefore, have a strong desire to lead people who are not demoralized by my mood but who have the audacity to look at aggregates and never wait for me to tell them what is wrong.
The crowing virtue of leadership is genuine humility. He who is down to earth fears no fall. There is no place below the ground to fall to. Thus, humility is a great asset. As a matter of fact, there is nothing about a man whose breath is though the nostrils to be proud about. When you put everything you do in God’s hands, you will surely see God’s hand in everything you do.
Have a prosperous year ahead.