Leadership and accountability: lessons from African traditions
Nkomo, John Landau
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To clear my mind on what leadership and accountability mean, I first consulted the dictionary. I looked up the word ‘leadership’ then ‘accountability’. I then put myself in the position of leadership and asked myself the question: ‘Should I be accountable to anybody, given the authority and challenge to lead; or, should all those lead be accountable to me or not for their performance?’ The temptation of leadership is, of course, to feel that you arc in the centre and at the controls where everyone reports to you. Put another way, the feeling is that everybody must be accountable to you and that you have no obligation to report to anyone. Yet, in today’s world, die emphasis is on the division of labour and on everyone contributing to the achievement of common goals rather than depending on the leadership for direction and motivation. In this regard, everyone is held accountable for the failure or achievement of missions and shared values. Shared responsibility is the driving force that challenges us to do certain things in certain ways, at certain times, to achieve certain goals and, as leaders, to provide conducive environments within which those we lead should perform to the fullest of their capabilities and aspirations.