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13.08.2004 Feature Article

Is it Indiscipline or a Lack of Leadership?

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Yes, there is indiscipline in our society. I am not sure if it is a crisis but it is seen in all aspects of our society. However, the branding of civil unrest as indiscipline is troubling. Troubling because today people simply are not accepting of inequities meted out against them and will challenge authority at all levels. Is this indiscipline?

How responsive are the leaders of society? How does the leadership approach the needs of the very society that has placed them at the helm of their affairs? What sense of urgency does the leadership bring to the needs of the people? These are questions I believe should be answered by the very people talking about indiscipline, our leadership.

Our leadership in all aspects of society has not lived to expectation. They have abused the trust of the people and this has a role in the current attitude we see, especially from but not restricted to the youth of our country.

In being “indisciplined”, which I believe is becoming a catch phrase in Ghana, what do we really mean? Is it to be accepting of every flaw in our daily lives or enabling those in control of our affairs to be able to control our destinies, whether good or bad? There are several questions that are raised whenever this talk of “indiscipline” comes up, and I am not sure if the talk is all in good faith.

The Internet, travel and simply the globalization of the world, today connects people. They understand what needs to get done, and what reasonable time frame needs to be given to all issues or concerns. They can use similar instances as theirs, as benchmarks, from all around the world, on almost every issue to determine what is fair or not, with respect to their specific issues.

The question I beg to ask is what does the leadership do to curb unruliness? Are they upright as leaders, with the capacity to respond to the needs of the society? Are they self-seeking control freaks or people with the knowledge and aspirations to enhance the living standards of the society in which they live and the society they are to serve?

“Indiscipline” can be reduced, if leaders, of the people understand the concept of leadership, from a global perspective, and not from the African perspective. People's lives and values are being shaped by both local and foreign attitudes. Without a true understanding of the times and the needs of the people, should leadership and the society, be so far apart on the issues, we simply create conditions for mistrust, which is a sure recipe for suspicion and civil unrest, which today is rampant in Ghana.

The inequities of our society really are the underlying problem for the negative actions of some, which seems to be described as indiscipline. An example is when students have grievances and submit them to the authorities; in many cases it is dismissed. There is no dialogue, or the dialogue comes too late. This is non-effective leadership.

Another example is the current situation with Ghana Airways, which led to the “hostage taking situation” with respect to an airline pilot, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3548158.stm. The travelers have no reason to be patient, after they have paid for a service. The responses from the business entity are unacceptable and to avert trouble of this kind, the burden falls on the airline to deliver the service for which these folks have paid for at all costs. The appeal must come from the firm to the passengers and not the other way around. They also have to compensate them for their troubles. Obviously, the passengers in seeing that the leadership of the organization, and for that matter the country, which has a stake in the airline, and will bear a larger part of the 'cost' in terms of this saga, had no intention to do so, or had not signaled to do so, they the passengers determined the appropriate action to take.

As stated in the article, “Ghanaian media reported that President John Kuffour held an emergency meeting with airline officials and police on Sunday evening - after the hostage incident had been resolved.” This is not proactive leadership and in no way can this be responsive leadership.

The act may not be conventional but a non-responsive leadership and business entity caused it. The trouble falls on the company and its failure to keep to their word. After all the customers have done their part in paying for a service and meeting their obligation full and square. They have no reason to sympathize with the firm or anyone.

These examples often are characteristic of the cause of unrest in our society, and until such time that the dynamics of leadership is transformed in our society, there will be problems. Our society has a current view of what leadership ought to be. We need leaders in Ghana. This is quite different from the qualities of management, which even falls short in many cases.

Leadership programs may be the next frontier in terms of capacity building, and this must come at a young age. It needs to be introduced into our educational system in the formative years of the child.

What is in crisis is leadership, and from the performance, past and present, there are only a few, who can be said to be of any substance to go down in our history as effective leaders. In the future, let us look at indiscipline in the context of leadership. We will be able to identify our problems better, once we take on this approach. Let us bring to our leadership tree qualities- 1. To be proactive, 2.To have a sense of urgency, and 3. To be responsive to the needs of our society.This will help us all. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Ako Folson
Ako Folson, © 2004

The author has 58 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: AkoFolson

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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