To be quite honest, it is never an exaggeration for anyone to suggest that the Coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented fear and panic to the entire human race.
Indeed, we have been experiencing extraordinary social restiveness amid unbelievable indecisiveness by some of the world leaders in the seeming insurmountable fight against the deadly virus.
But that said, it is not an understatement to stress passionately that a handful of world leaders are doing a yeoman’s job in containing the insidious coronavirus, including the president of Ghana, His Excellency President Akufo-Addo.
Dearest reader, I have always held a firm conviction that true leaders take the bull by the horn and that is exactly what President Akufo-Addo has been doing during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Succinctly put, it takes massive leadership to combat the seemingly insuperable crisis such as the Coronavirus pandemic.
You may believe it or not, the pragmatic steps President Akufo-Addo has taken so far in curbing the deadly virus show his zestful enthusiasm and charismatic leadership.
Dearest reader, tell me, hasn’t Akufo-Addo done amazingly well by increasing the health workers salaries by 50% for three months, free water for every Ghanaian for three months, 0-50kw of electricity-free, and half-price above 50Kw for three months for every Ghanaian, free transport for health workers, tax incentives, the stimulus package for medium and small scale industries, and amongst others?
Once upon a time, society anecdotally attributed leadership to a trait from birth. And more so leadership was only ascribed to tall, handsome and well-connected individuals.
Obviously, it was wholly unconscionable. The fact of the matter is that leadership skills can be acquired through remedial tutorials or routine training.
What is the difference between a leader and leadership?
In theory, a leader is a person who is appointed, elected or informally chosen to direct and co-ordinate the work of others in a group (Fiedler, 1995).
The preceding extant definition underscores the fact that the formally appointed leader cannot always be a real leader, but it also confines the notion of leader to a group context.
Well, if we take the word “group” literally, this definition precludes leaders of nations, large corporations and so on, except in so far as they lead a small group of senior colleagues.
On the other hand, leadership can be considered to be the personal qualities, behaviours, styles and decisions adopted by the leader. In other words, it concerns how the leader carries out his/her role. Hence while the role of a leader can be described in a job description, leadership is not so easily pinned down.
The crucial question then is: with so many people purporting to be leaders these days, how do we distinguish between a true leader and a demagogue?
To be able to do justice to the preceding question, we must pause, reflect summarily and ask: what is it that a leader is trying to achieve?
In fact, a true leader wants nothing more than to make people independent, as leaders in their own rights. Instead of trying to deceive us with his or her superlative oratory, a true leader reflects our own light back to us.
A true leadership, in practice, must give people a long-term vision that absorbs their lives with meaning; it must point them in a new direction and show how their every action is an indispensable part of a positive change.
More importantly, a true leader always comes up with pragmatic ideas with the view to transforming the lives of his/her subordinates.
We tend to believe that a leader is a person who is well-connected, who is powerful or charismatic or wealthy. We normally judge our leaders by what they have. But a true leader should be judged by his/her extraordinary qualities, not — ego, impertinent boldness, and self-interest.
A true leader, in theory, sees his/her work as an altruistic service toward accomplishing a goal. That is by putting the acquired skills, experience, knowledge and empathetic qualities at the disposal of the needs of his/her subordinates. As the sages say, “Leadership is not just power and dominance; it is service to mankind.”