My Coach Jessie asked me, “Annet, why leadership and why should we even care about the subject?” My response was “how much time do you have, because it’s a long story?.”
Give me a brief version” she said. In this article I share a bit of my response.
I was born and lived as a refugee my entire childhood – like many other Rwandans! My parents always told us about a country we belonged to; Rwanda!, but for some reason, we could not live there…
A life of a refuge is one I would never wish anyone to experience. Three things I vividly remember were poverty, fear and shame. I watched my parents struggle to get us through school and put food on the table.
We lived in perpetual fear that any moment we could lose it all – our lives to be precise.
I remember the shame I felt, being called a refugee by kids in my class. Feeling out of place in every place…
The deepest cry of every young and old person in my community was one, LEADERSHIP! We longed for a leader who would CARE, HELP, and who would affirm that our lives matter!,
The biggest failure of leadership in our country’s history was the tragedy of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed more than a million people in just 100 days.
The whole social fabric was torn; churches, schools, families, State – everything destroyed. Millions displaced, anger, mistrust and trauma. I recall wondering where one would begin from to rebuild.
I like to call this part of our history “the grand FALL of leadership”.
Fast-forward years later, am seated in a quiet room full of friends and family at the 24th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and I had a moment of reflection.
I was taken back to Rwanda THEN and brought back to Rwanda NOW – where Rwanda is;
considered one of the few effectively governed countries in the world by the World Economic Forum
the 2nd easiest country to do business in Africa
the world’s leading country in women empowerment with 64 per cent of women seats in the parliament
the least corrupt country on the African continent.
The list is endless! I could go on and on…
What an incredible journey for the Rwandans. But wait …. what changed? It is still the same country, same people, same resources or lack of?
In fact, we still speak the same language. So, what happened? In that moment it hit me – yet again… ONLY one thing changed, someone up there changed - LEADERSHIP changed!
I like to call this part of our history “the grand RISE of leadership”.
Yes! everything will rise and fall on leadership.
You see, it doesn’t matter how much resources you have. If you have good leadership, you will have amazing results. With bad leadership, I don’t care whether you’re endowed with natural resources, you are wasting your time, it won’t work.
Why we take this subject for granted beats me! LEADERSHIP should be engrained in communities; homes, schools, churches, and work places. We can’t leave it to chance.
To explain the kind of leadership I coach, allow me let you in on one of my teachable moments. It was at the end of a full day of facilitating an intensive leadership coaching session.
Tired and exhausted, I rushed home to watch the 2017 Rwanda presidential election campaigns on TV. As soon as I turned on the TV, I heard the words “I WILL BE YOUR SHOCK ABSORBER” said the then presidential candidate, H.E Paul Kagame.
This statement immediately caught my attention. This is exactly what leadership is about. The kind that adds VALUE to others; caring, protecting and defending your own. It is not about enjoying the perks, prestige and status that comes with it. It is not about YOU but about THEM.
So, here is why I became a leadership coach; to help create as many “shock absorbers” as possible - world changers with a different LEADERSHIP perspective.
Two questions every one reading this article MUST ask him/herself RIGHT NOW is a) How is my leadership affecting those around me? b) what am I doing today to develop my leadership potential?
And this is WHY? How well you lead will determine the success level of your family, organisation and Nation.
The author is the Founder and CEO of AB-Leadership Solutions.
The views expressed in this article are of the author.