Criticism is part of the package when it comes to leadership. Regardless of how popular, necessary, well thought out and considerate, there will always be criticism. Good leaders don’t fear criticism.
Some insecure leaders are so afraid of being criticised that they dedicate themselves in hunting down whoever doesn’t agree with them.
As the regime of Ferwafa chairman Celestin Ntagungira a.k.a Abega comes to an end this year, the best tool he is using is to win a second term is to hunt down and influence media organisation owners to sack particular journalists, who he thinks don’t like him when they don’t agree with his policies.
To remind Abega and many others like him, positive criticism is always aimed at reminding you of what you are not doing and you could be doing well.
There are so many areas where Abega’s administration has failed and a reminder is needed so that things could be done better for the good of Rwandan football.
Some people don’t want to listen to radio or read newspapers criticising them while others consider themselves flawless, that they never err and should they do anything wrong, their positions in society put them above criticism.
Media’s first responsibility is to inform their audiences of whatever is happening in the society, good or bad. It’s a duty of the media to put checks and balances on leaders at any level and telling the truth, however painful. The pain of truth is like the pain of giving birth. It has sweet consequences.
Also, media has a duty to educate its audience on all sorts of issues in the world whose existence they don’t know and if they do, they don’t understand as well as act as the society’s watchdog and criticise society.
To do this, radio stations or publications allow their outlets to serve as platforms for self-criticism or criticism of leaders. When society rejects self-criticism or criticism, it is like a human being that will not bathe. It stinks.
When journalists criticise Brig. Gen Charles Rudakubana [RNOC boss], it should also criticize Minister Protais Mitali, and when it criticises Michel Gasingwa (Ferwafa SG), it must also do the same for his boss, Abega.
In a democracy, the role of passing judgment on leaders, exposing their weakness to avoid a recurrence, belongs to media as a way of protecting citizens from leaders, who are prone to incompetence.
Indeed, media practitioners should be regarded as enemies of society if they should shy away from to criticising leaders, who are not doing things right whether out of love or fear.
Sports managers and administrators are faced with very similar situations on a daily basis, not just on Sundays. Mediocre leaders hold themselves (and others) back by giving in to the fear of criticism and failure.
Exceptional leaders thrive on that fear because it means the result is that much more rewarding. If for some reason success does not result, that just means there is a lesson to be learned and there is room to grow.
Constructive criticism is a great leader’s best friend. Challenging the status quo and proving the sceptics wrong are what feeds the giant – courage.
That is why the likes of Abega ought to face the fact that true and competent leaders assume a completely rational perspective when it comes to criticism. When you’re criticised, it’s a sign that, at least others are paying attention to what you’re doing.
If the status quo is not serving the best interests of institutions like Ferwafa, it means that change is needed. True leaders set forth a course of action that will lead to needed changes, and that will inevitably cause some people to criticise, mumble and complain.
Rather than seeing that as a negative, a great leader will begin conversations to listen effectively to these criticisms, and to patiently address the issues, and enlighten others as to why these steps are not only needed, but essential.
If you concentrate on the feeling of being misunderstood or misjudged, you will place yourself right into the position of defensiveness instead of listening openly.
Two years ago, Ntagungira was believed to be capable of steering Rwandan football in the right direction.
The way fellow football enthusiasts believed in him to make an impact for the local football, many have been left disappointed following a string of poor managerial mishaps thus failing to revamp Rwandan football.
Whether Abega has lived up to his expectations or not, it is the football fraternity that will judge him come late this year.