In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are celebrating vibrant and diverse women in our community with our own version of the #ChooseToChallenge campaign.
The #ChooseToChallenge Campaign is a call to challenge gender inequality, question stereotypes, call out injustices and infringements on human rights, and help forge an inclusive world. And we’re seeking to amplify the voices of African women from across the continent as well as those in the diaspora.
We are spotlighting some phenomenal African women who have defined what leadership means to them based on their ideologies, experiences and outlook on life.
Ajoke Ogunrotimi – Nigeria
Leadership is a process of social influence that maximises the effort of others, towards the achievement of a goal. John Maxwell defines a leader as one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. Leaders are willing to give their all for the people they lead and the course they are working for. A successful leader is an optimistic and virtuous leader. Their integrity, honesty and character are reflected in everything they do.
Leadership is an important function that helps to maximise efficiency and to achieve organisational goals through the followings: Initiation of actions, providing motivation, providing guidance, creating confidence, building morale, building work environments, and coordinating the team.
Akalanze Oyinyechi – Nigeria
We allocate diverse meanings to the term “leadership”. Irrespective of race, culture, ethnicity, religion, degree, career, and other prominent class known to man, I’ll say a leader is a solutionist, a forerunner, with the ability to embody the pain of others, fair and just, driven by compassion to lead.
In my opinion, leadership is one voice, one mission, one goal. To lead is to effectively communicate, impact and reach out to a group of people, who desire nothing less than what they do deserve. Leadership is a willing path open to man, for a leader is one with temporary authority. Leadership thrives on wisdom, tolerance and perseverance to conduct.
From the inception of man, everyone is born a leader, but a healthy state of mind births leadership. The totality of a group of opinions and the ability to determine the right choice sums up leadership. The term “leader” is just an inaugurated position, nothing but a phase that tests your ability to lead.
A leader is on the surface, that’s why the title can be manipulated, and by manipulated, I mean bought. Leadership on the other hand, comes from within, it proves your worth as a leader, in the end they say, justifies the means. When you hear “leadership”, in summary, it’s a selfless act of service to humanity.
Awunli Eghosasere – Nigeria
Leadership is about influence. And Leadership by example, as I have observed and experienced has the greatest force of influence.
Leadership by example is the greatest hallmark of a leader and the most effective kind of leadership. When a leader sets the pace by leading by example, she gets unwavering support from team members to achieve set goals. It motivates team members to do as they have been told because they can see the same behaviour being modelled. However, if the opposite is the case, it will be difficult to have any significant influence over those whom you lead to achieve your team’s goals.
Cynthia Egwudobi – Nigeria
Leadership to me is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal. In simpler terms it means working with and through others to achieve a goal.
Dr Catherine Odenyo – Uganda
Leadership is an art. A call to provoke and steer progressive action towards desired outcomes and changes. It entails placing the needs of other people at the heart of decision-making and action. It is about giving each person an equal opportunity to be heard, to meaningfully contribute to and participate in processes that affect their lives. Leadership entails looking inwards and around to identify the existing potential and importantly, empowering individuals, particularly giving voices to those who are marginalized while raising the next generation of changemakers. Leadership is people-focused, issue-based, selfless, honourable, keen, humble, relentless, strategic, and equitable. Effective leadership is inclusive! For me, it is a journey of consistency filled with wins and losses, opportunities and challenges, hope and dreams, and a constant focus on people. Leadership is all about the people, my people, our people!
Eri-Amabe Gracious – Uganda
Leadership is an act of service, a drive to leave things better than they were, a choice to listen, learn and give. Leadership is more than just the person at the top but the system built from the ground up. Leadership is a virtue that can destroy or build. Leadership is courage.
Gbemi Atimomo – Kenya
Leadership to me is about helping people become MORE. It’s about being selfless, sharing and showing Love and helping people become a better version of themselves. The more we truly grow in our leadership journey, we realise it’s really not about us; it can be hard to accept as we sometimes get lost in the euphoria of titles, feel we are better than them and that people really need what we have. It’s really not about us. It’s creating, nurturing and helping people thrive.
It’s helping people become MORE!.
Gift Samson – Nigeria
Leadership is the act of directing, inspiring and influencing a group of people to work towards achieving a common goal. Leadership is all about service. A leader is a servant and should put the needs of his or her followers first. A leader works for his or her followers and is answerable to them when things go wrong. A leader takes actions that protect the interest of the followers. Leadership is all about envisioning a better life for followers and making conscious efforts towards bringing the vision to reality.
Gomolemo Ursular Malebye – Botswana
Leadership for me means the courage to stand for the truth even if you sometimes have to stand alone. It is about standing for a course you believe in and for which you are willing to give up your life.
Leadership for me is an art of discipline, an expression of love, wisdom, equality, fairness, humility, inclusiveness, vulnerability and integrity for all those who follow you. It is about having a vision bigger than yourself and a willingness to put the desires of those whom you lead before your own.
Leadership is a quality and a skill that must be tested, challenged and refined through the fire of decision-making processes, it is not static and must keep on evolving to suit different situations and circumstances.
Leadership is not always about titles, anyone has the ability to lead at any level of their life and role in society, it must be earthed and developed from the grassroots going up. It is one of the crucial qualities which when harnessed properly can make a significant difference to the world we live in.
Konto Diamond – Liberia
A leader is someone that people believe in, and choose to follow. A leader is someone that authority or power is given to. To be a successful leader you must be a people-centred person. A leader is a servant.
Lindele Sithole – Eswatini
Leadership is not a position or title but the core principle of leadership it is all about etching your legacy into the minds of others and the footprints you will leave in their hearts. Leadership is all about peoples’ needs and wants to be prioritized before that of a leader. For one to say He/ She is a leader there should be people that individual is leading not with an iron fist hand but with positive influence.
Leadership is a huge responsibility not to be taken lightly; a leader must influence, motivate, inspire and direct the people they are leading. In the event of a crisis, leadership requires one to take a lion’s share of the blame and less credit when there is an achievement. I also believe leadership should come with integrity- that is why it should be based on trust, obligation, commitment, sensitive emotions towards each other and ensure a shared good vision is accomplished. This involves taking that responsibility you have been assigned to greater heights and raising the people you are leading beyond their normal abilities.
Leadership is understanding your own strengths and weaknesses as a leader as well as those of the team and integrating individual strengths to compensate for individual weaknesses and overcome challenges for the betterment of the assignment, project or organization. Leadership requires dreaming more, doing more and becoming exemplary to the people you are leading. The people you are leading should be inspired by your leadership abilities and qualities.
Lindiwe Moyo – Zambia
True Leadership challenges barriers such as poverty, unemployment, conflict, gender-based violence and inequality. Through the creation of innovative technologies, entrepreneurship and financial systems that will raise incomes, employment, excess to health and education, peace and stability. Creating economic and financial freedom for all Africans.
Mukeshimana Natasha – Rwanda
Leadership is motivating, directing, guiding and influencing a group of people towards achieving their common stated goals.
A Leader is someone who influences, inspires and guides others to achieve their goals, leaders must be one step ahead of their followers.
Nandini Tanya Lallmon – Mauritius
In an ideal world, it should not matter whether there is a woman running the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation or UNESCO. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes little difference who makes healthcare more available, education more accessible and food security more manageable. None of these basic needs is incumbent on the gender of the perpetrators or decision-makers. Yet, encouraging more women into leadership positions remains critical in our era and given the fast-approaching challenges of the future. The emergence of female leaders can become a centrifugal force for good in the world. People should always be appointed on merit and the electorate must decide, but more still needs to be done to give all women the best possible chance of rising to the top.
Across the Commonwealth, although laws have been promulgated by Parliament to protect women, they are rarely enforced. As a legal lead of the #Reform53 campaign of the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network, I am shaping the advocacy movement to lobby leaders of all 54 Commonwealth countries to reform laws that discriminate against women. Culminating at the 2021 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda, #Reform53 aims to spark conversations, commitments and actions towards achieving gender equality. By engaging with political and diplomatic representatives, as well as industry, civil society, academic and business leaders, we are pushing lawmakers to not only create or change legislation for social justice but also to ensure that such legislation is properly implemented.
Oyindamola Ossi – Nigeria
Leadership to me is the ability to help people see their potentials and inspire them to utilize it. In my work as an HR and Career professional, I have had the privilege to meet numerous people from different career levels, and I see that more young people across Africa need to be inspired to take the lead when it comes to making bold decisions concerning their lives and careers. For this reason, I created my Career resource platforms “Career Ready Africa and Career Conversation Podcast”
Leadership is beyond a position or title, and I believe everyone should see themselves as a leader. Leadership is being able to receive and give feedback when you are working with a group of people, regardless of the position you occupy. Leadership is choosing to make valuable contributions wherever you find yourself.
Leadership is the empowerment of people in the best way possible. It is taking responsibility for the events that occur in one’s life, without pushing the blame on others. Leadership is accountability to oneself and to the people one represents. Leadership is caring genuinely about the growth of the people I serve. Leadership is being inspired from within and letting the inspiration create a ripple effect that extends to inspiring others.
Rasul Ibrahim Abba – Zambia
I believe leadership is being a part of the team you are leading. Being an example in word and action plus a voice for them.
Zainab Nasir – Nigeria
The word leadership brings to mind a miscellany of images such as a political leader, a religious leader, or community leader but whatever form it takes, Leadership is the ability to get extraordinary achievement from ordinary people.
To achieve this the leader should be focused and have a clear vision, should be a person of integrity, a positive thinker, focuses on self-development and team development, possess excellent communication skills with their followers and should be innovative. A leader is one that leads by being a good model to his subordinates, one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.