When a part of society is hurting, and another part is not listening, then a few individuals can play leader/hero and build walls. Leadership and heroism are not to be found in those who lead the masses by holding onto their power or position.
Those we regard as leaders exploit knowingly and unknowingly what we feel is our identity. Leadership is to be found in those who encourage participation and heal brokenness. They bandage our wounded egos and separateness of identity with what is common to us all and what is absolute—we are human beings who seek wholeness and life. Democracy fails in this because we listen to “a majority” and then we draw hard lines and quickly classify people as “us and them.” Democracy fails when it is not purposefully led.
President Adama Barrow’s style of leadership is, in my view, out of tune with the 21st century. He is like a man on a white stallion with an upraised sword who says, “I have all the answers, I know everything, and I will solve all your problems. I will cut through the Gordian knot.”
A one-man show was feasible in the days gone by, but in the complex 21st century, the ability to build a team is far more important. In a coalition government, we don’t see that. Hardly any coalition minister feels he has any authority over his own portfolio or command over his own ministry.
There may be one exception or maybe two, but every decision has to be referred to the Office of the President. Speeches and all major policies are all made at the State House and, in the end, supports the one-man show. That is a big flaw when you look back at the leadership style of President Adama Barrow.
Whatever the field, a good leader has to at least have three qualities: 1) the ability, obviously, to inspire. That means communication has to be effective and motivational, 2) the ability to lead by example. If, in the context of soccer, you are seen as a captain who doesn’t deserve that place, then your authority will definitely suffer, and 3) the ability to let your followers feel that the victory is theirs, not yours. In every field, a leader should not only be all about himself or herself. Be it winning an election or a game of soccer, or even improving a sales record, the team must feel we did it. If one person takes all the credit and hogs the limelight, then I’m afraid the team will not be motivated for the next game.