/Servant leadership, JFK and CR17 spirit can get us out of the crazy and chaotic times

Servant leadership, JFK and CR17 spirit can get us out of the crazy and chaotic times

2019-05-26 07:00

Only through servant leadership can good governance and lasting peace be achieved. If only every leader in this nation will truly embrace the characteristics of servant leadership then we can truly count on glorious days ahead, writes Rich Mkhondo.

What
sort of Cabinet, provincial and national parliamentarians will get us through
these, “crazy and chaotic times”?

Even
before American business management guru, Tom Peters, coined the term “crazy
and chaotic times,” the demand for what’s been termed servant leadership
was often repeated during tough times such as these.

Indeed,
every now and then we are in an endless quest for ideal leaders or politicians
whose job is to create conditions for economic growth. Even now many seminars
and fora are engaged in learning how our country can groom such leaders.

“Servant”
leadership is a fascinating concept which requires those in positions of power
and decision-making to be open to new ways of thinking, to be less autocratic,
to listen and engage with us.

Radical,
tough decisions have to be made to drive change in the Ramaphosa
administration. Managing these while keeping citizens engaged and positive will
be a difficult task.

I
join those who advocate that a true leader is a servant leader. The US-based
Centre for Servant Leadership has defined servant leaders to have ten basic
characteristics: listening; empathy; healing; awareness; persuasion;
conceptualisation; foresight; stewardship; commitment to the growth of people; and
building community.

For
us the emphasis should on servant leaders who are good listeners and good
stewards, who are good at building a sense of community, rather than division, and
leaders who have insight into problem-solving.

We
need servant leaders who do not suppress personal growth or foster
exploitation, who have the wisdom to do what is right, first and foremost,
instead of putting their party politics and their own agendas first.

Of
course, we live in an age where many elements would try to corrupt the minds
and spirits of leaders who have the power to decide on behalf of citizens. The
temptation for money and power is stronger than ever.

However,
more than knowledge and skills which they can acquire through study and
experience, their integrity and character are equally essential – or perhaps
more significant – elements, in serving us with honour and integrity.

To
lead, therefore, requires our Members of Provincial Legislatures (MPLs), Members
of Parliament (MPs) and Cabinet to be servant leaders who possess a combination
of knowledge and skills, on one hand, and acumen anchored on character on the
other, with each side complementing and reinforcing the other.

Akin
to a father and mother who bear the noble duty to deliver their children and
family to the good life, our Cabinet, MPLs, MPs owe our rainbow nation, progress,
security and prosperity.

They should care about the nation,
more attuned to the challenges the average citizen faces day-to-day. They
should be what the country needs right now, leaders who have compassion for
people.

I
believe that servant leadership and John F Kennedy’s test of “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You … Ask
What You Can Do for Your Country,” are the only way for our rainbow
nation to realise the dream for positive change through President Cyril Ramaphosa’s
“Thuma Mina” (Send Me), peace, and sustainable development.

Only
through servant leadership can good governance and lasting peace be achieved.
If only every leader in this nation will truly embrace the above ten
characteristics of servant leadership then we can truly count on glorious days
ahead.

Of
course, it is no secret that our national government and provincial governments
don’t have all the answers alone.

There
are those who believe that our government causes more problems than it provides
solid solutions.

Indeed,
many South Africans think all politicians are a bunch of greedy, corrupt,
self-serving windbags. The last thing they want to do is help fuel their little
delusions of grandeur by actually getting involved in politics.

I
fully understand that position. But they got into power anyway, some of them because
of our indifference and cynicism. After all, activists and extremists always
vote. And they always vote for the wrong people because they want to maintain
the atmosphere of conflict, distrust and bigotry that serves them so very well.

This
time around there are many reasons for us all to make our voices heard. This
time it is about real issues – about trust, accountability, competence and
ending the cycle of corruption.

There
is a saying: “All of us need all of us.” As in most situations, there
are shared responsibilities, and in a perfect world, JFK’s call to service and “CR17’s”
call for “Thuma Mina” literally, not figuratively, should resound
from house to house and community to community, town to town and city to city.

Starting
at the local level with a unified front would go a long way toward building a
positive path that would lead to identifying and addressing our local concerns
and implementing viable solutions.

To deal with the “crazy and chaotic times” let us embrace the JFK and CR17 test and redefine our idea of what it means to be a
citizen, that everybody has something to contribute and everybody has something
to give back to this country that’s given us so much.

– Rich Mkhondo runs
The Media and Writers Firm, a ghost-writing,
content development and reputation management hub.

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