At a World Economic Forum on Africa, held in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, there was a united call to end the continent’s marginalisation. Africans must believe in themselves and “be the change they want to see” was the message that resonated across the Forum’s sessions. It is believed that the recent global economic crisis has led to a reassessment of the systems governing global cooperation, financial architecture and policies linked to trade and climate change and is a wake-up call to speed up implementation of long-discussed reforms.
Now is the time for the new generation of Africans and returning diaspora rewriting the rules for leadership to define the way forward for Africa’s future.
“Another emerging reality is the fact that many African leaders that we have worked with are deeply entrenched in the new age leadership demands such as emotional intelligence and social intelligence” says Gail Cameron a leadership coach for more than twenty-seven years. “the spirit of ubuntu that puts the interests of others ahead without de-personalising them, is a critical part of empathic leadership and a natural competency of many of the leaders we are working with currently.
However, many of these leaders are lacking the confidence to influence and sell ideas across a wide spectrum of stakeholders. The exciting thing is that great communicators are made and not born” adds Cameron “what is needed is a holistic, integrated and scientific approach to skills development that will build confidence and ultimately enhance the leadership brand to facilitate a winning experience.
It really is possible to upskill these leaders in order for them to inspire and captivate imagination, generate purpose, a sense of identity and an energising brand optimism. Once a leader’s interpersonal fluency has been refined physically, behaviourally and emotionally – they are able to lead, direct and motivate with confidence. Building brand ambassadors should always be a holistic approach that encompasses the Primacy Effect; those critical impactors that others judge us by. Visual impact is important, only to the extent that the eye is hungrier than the ear. As light travels faster than sound, we look before we listen, but once that criteria has been satisfied, the verbal component such as the voice and speech mechanism becomes critical and experts will tell you from the moment you speak, you have less than seven seconds to make an impact. Once those elements are working effectively, the psychological components such as emotional intelligence and social intelligence become critical. In fact, social intelligence has become the no. 1 hot topic for the 21st century. People with deep competencies in this area make the most electable politicians, the most skilled negotiators, the most inspiring leaders – and many of our African leaders have this competence unrealized” concludes Cameron – “They possess the qualities. All that’s needed is to increase their own self-awareness and the belief that they can do it well”