The Executive Director of Salt and Light Ministries, Dr Joyce Aryee has stated that great leaders must not use their followers as a means to an end.
According to her, great leaders “care about the wellbeing of those in their charge. They do not use people simply as a means to an end. They genuinely want others to develop to their full potential.”
Dr Aryee made these remarks in Accra at the eighth congregation of Ghana Technology University College (GTUC) in her key note address themed “Great Leaders Grow Deep Roots: The Six Characteristics of Exceptional Leaders”.
She said: “Concern has both a soft and a hard side. Sometimes it requires a gentle touch, bringing hope and renewed commitment to discouraged followers. Other times it involves demanding that others be accountable for their actions so that they are stretched and pushed to their best.”
“What binds the two together is a genuine desire to see others achieve their best while achieving the organization’s goal. People will follow leaders whom they sense genuinely care for their wellbeing.”
She likened leadership to the California Oak Tree, which has tap roots that can reach 60 feet deep to search for ground water, and extensive root system that anchors it against storm conditions.
According to her, great leaders must grow deep roots by developing strong characteristics such as integrity, vision, concern, creativity, result-orientation and courage.
“Leadership certainly is not gained by election or appointment. Having position, title, rank or degree does not qualify anyone to lead other people. And the ability does not come automatically from experience, either. No, it would be accurate to say that no one can be given the right to lead. The right to lead can only be earned. And that takes time,” Dr Aryee stated.
Dr. Aryee noted that the key to becoming an effective leader is not to focus on making other people follow you but on making yourself the kind of person they want to follow, adding that “you must become someone others can trust to take them where they want to go”.
“Ultimately, you are not a leader if no one is following you. In other words, exceptional leadership requires a climate of trust where people give you their wholehearted commitment. Nothing destroys that trust faster than a perception of hypocrisy and duplicity, hence the importance of integrity,” she added.
She observed that being deeply aware of core psychological needs, values, talents, character strengths and weaknesses, as well as your preferred styles of interacting, learning and decision-making is critical for personal and interpersonal effectiveness.
“Great leaders like healthy trees are both deeply rooted and highly flexible. In fact, it is the very strength of the root system that determines how flexible and adaptable the visible tree is in stressful or stormy conditions. Leadership roots grow best in soil rich in self-awareness.”
The Executive Director said as technology continues to evolve at breakneck speed, global trade also continues to expand and social, political and environmental problems threaten stability and safety; great leaders are needed now than ever in all sectors of the economy.
Dr. Osei K. Darkwa, GTUC President in his report said eight years after attaining accreditation, the University College has moved from a modest, humble and challenging beginning and, is now well positioned as a college of quality and distinction, offering professional development programmes and quality tertiary education to over five thousand students.