For the sake of this write up where I am restricted not to mention the
name of the leader in question, please permit me to refer him as Mr. X.
From a humble beginning, the
Ghanaian business man hails from Bososo, a remote village in the eastern part
of Ghana. He was born in 1952 to a famer and a cacao purchasing officer. He graduated
from University of Ghana, Legon, with a bachelor’s degree in business
Administration (Accounting). He was then recruited in to the Military Academy
in Accra and was commissioned as a Lieutenant after his studies in Cost and
Management Accountancy with Winchester. He left the Army 1982 to follow his
dreams to become a business man and a consultant. He started with a wood
processing factory but today he can boost of a Bank and other several financial
As a founder and Chief executive officer of a conglomerate, who was prone
to the sting of complacency, he still was stuck to his unique basic leadership
qualities that chalked him several local and international awards such as, Lifetime
Achievement for Innovation in Africa, 2013, Johnnie Walker Giant, 2012. A
global “Walk with Giants” campaign, Overall Best Entrepreneur in the Maiden
Ghana Entrepreneurs Award (2011), One of two Ghanaians profiled in Moky Makura’s
book on Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneurs which profiles 16 of Africa’s top
entrepreneurs, Three times running Ghana’s Most Respected CEO for
2008/2010/2012, National Honors for an Order of the Star of the Volta-Officer’s
Division presented by the President of Ghana in 2008 and also the Marketing Man
of the Year 2006. – Wikipedia.
The following are some of the leadership qualities that I most associate
with Mr. X.
Commitment or Passion
Respect for time
Recognized the difference between
“Talented Person” and a “Trained Person”
Donald Trump said, “Without passion you
don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.” I believe that what really makes anything happen is the passion you
have for it. Passion is the fuel that drives the “now” to achieve the “future’.
Mr.X understood that to have passion is to love and the love came in two forms
as a business man; love for the product/service that he offered and love for
the people (customers and prospective customers) he offered to. His passion
sprouted when he was refused a loan facility as a lecturer, a chartered
accountant and an ex-military officer, because he did not have collateral.
There, he saw a need, developed passion for it, pursued it and today it’s a
success. He loved and respected people and wanted to see them develop.
A great leader is also one whose
passion sparkles off him and ignites that of his followers and influences them
to go where he is heading to. Mr. X infected his followers with his passion, in
that, even in his absence, his ideologies and principles stirred the affairs of
the organization. This move by him, I believe has been the bedrock of the organization
Passion, as a quality of good leaders, wean on a combination of
personality, temperament, talent, experience and emotional inclinations. One
cannot be thought how to sprout passion, as it emanate, from within the confines
or the intersection of the love for a product/service and the love for a people
(customers/prospective customers). However, a leader may rally his followers
around his passion to achieve a common goal but the source of the passion is
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision,
passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion,” says
Jack Welch in an interview with Harvard Business Review in 1989. Deborah
Ancona in her book “In Praise of the
Incomplete Leader” describe visioning as “the leaders ability to create
credible and compelling images of a desired future that people in the organization
want to create together”.
Mr. X understood that a vision provides a hinge on which a leader
revolves his attention on even as he deals with the realities of today. He had
a dream of owning a bank, which was the big picture but started with a wood processing
factory. He later veered into other ventures such oil and Gas and importation
of building materials. Nevertheless, he always held on to the dream, pursued it
and today the dream of a Bank is a reality.
It’s one thing having a vision and another being able to hold on to the
vision and bringing it to reality. I believe that the ability to have vision or
dream is innate could not be thought to a person but the ability to sustain the
vision and make it happen could come by training, practice and experience over
Respect for Time:
Time has progressively become one of the most important resources in any
business engagement and hence, the management of time, is imperative to any Business
leader. The leader must understand that every activity of the organization must
be time bond.
To respect any human is to respect their time. Customers nowadays are not
only about their convenience but highly particular about the amount of time
they waited, regardless of how long they truly waited. “Smart businesses
leaders strive to minimize not only actual wait time, but
also perceived wait time”. Julie Lamski, 2015. Mr. X by this
leadership quality understood how important it is to respect customers’ time and
therefore made loans available to customers in 48 hours when it actually took
other banks three to four weeks to do it.
He, by way of leadership proved beyond doubt, that “respect for time” is
only as a result of inheritance of certain qualities or traits but by training,
observation and in enabling environment, one could pick up such leadership
quality. For instance, whenever he called for a meeting, he would always show
up on time and as soon as he got to the meeting room, regardless of the number
persons present, the meeting commenced. This got every member of his team to suddenly
develop respect for time. Consequently, one can easily infer that “respect for
time” is a leadership quality that can be thought to an individual and be born
into an individual.
quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.