Integrity, competence, willingness to learn, and having a sense of purpose on what they want to achieve for the common good are virtues that all impactful leaders must embrace.
These values were shared by President Paul Kagame and Pastor Rick Warren on Tuesday in Kigali as they addressed close to 2000 Rwandan leaders from across the country.
They spoke at a meeting dubbed, ‘Purpose Driven Leadership Gathering’, which was organised by PEACE Plan Rwanda, a network of church members through which local churches and leaders are empowered, as well as Rwanda Leaders Fellowship (RLF), a not-for-profit organisation known for organising the annual national prayer breakfast.
The globally renowned American evangelist urged the leaders to always have a dream of what they want to achieve, to take action to implement it, and to constantly learn about how to improve what they are doing.
Quoting the Bible, Warren said that leaders should always be eager to learn and remember what they learn.
“The moment you stop learning you will stop leading,” he warned the leaders.
Leaders from across the country gathered at the forum, including 300 government officials, 300 business leaders, and 1200 church leaders.
Pastor Warren, who is among the first initiators of the PEACE Plan initiative, urged leaders in all the three sectors of government, church, and the private sector to always consult each other and work together to improve their services to the people.
He believes that a great nation comprises of three pillars; namely The Church Sector (Faith), The Government Sector (public) and the Business Sector (Private).
“We need to be humble, learn from each other, and run the nation,” he advised leaders, explaining that in every sector leaders have a lot to learn from others and also teach to others.
President Kagame, who joined the leaders’ gathering as a guest of honour, along with First Lady Jeannette Kagame, reminded the leaders that implementation of good plans and lessons is always key for any leader worth of that qualification.
“Learning is essential but it must be followed by actions. If you do not apply what you learn, you will not achieve your goals. Teaching must have a purpose. I want us to find a way to match what we learn with our actions and our purpose,” Kagame told fellow leaders.
The Head of State urged all leaders to strive to correct themselves, continuously learn, and always find time for self-examination.
“Ask yourself why you are falling short, what your weaknesses are and find a way to address them,” he advised the leaders.
He added: “If you wait for someone to point out your shortcomings, they will not be resolved because when you are criticized by others, you don’t believe them or you think it is disrespectful. It is human nature to reject criticism and that is why you need self-evaluation”.
The President said that Rwandans have to “make extraordinary choices to heal from the tragedy and failures” of the past and urged all leaders to play their significant role in shaping a brighter future for the country.
“We have a lot of work to do; we are not short of lessons showing us how to do it. We have more strength we should use to build the Rwandan family and make a contribution on the global scale, however small. But it starts at home,” he said.
The leaders’ forum on Tuesday was used to encourage them to grow in character and vision within their respective sectors.
The conference was aimed at further pushing leaders to continue to embark on the journey of national transformation that leads to building a purpose-driven nation through the services offered to communities by businesses, government, and religious leaders.