As we prepare to hold the general elections this year, we need to understand that the most valuable asset a country can have is its leadership. Leadership determines the effectiveness of any institution, meaning an institution is only as good as its leaders. We give you qualities that make a great leader so you are well informed as you go to vote.

It’s unfortunate that Kenya’s politics is tribal meaning we elect leaders on the basis of their tribe at the expense of good leadership hence affecting the country’s development. Sadly, it is the youth who end up paying the price of bad leadership. The onus is thus upon the youth to vote in leaders who have the interest of the nation at heart. Here are some of the leadership qualities you need to look out for in an individual in this electioneering year.

Competency: A good leader must be skilled at his work. If we want to propel our country to new heights, we must look for people who are capable of managing our resources well. Before giving an aspirant a nod, examine their track record and evaluate whether they have what it takes to lead.

Honesty: This is what most institutions are lacking and it is one of the values which we need to consider when electing leaders in whichever position. For us to get quality services, we need the right people with the right agenda. The problem with politicians is that they look at leadership as an avenue to richness rather than a position to serve. Again, the individual’s past record will help you know whether they are persons of integrity.

Focus: Leaders get into office with a development agenda. A good leader is one who will not be distracted by sideshows and actually do to the people as he had promised during the campaigns. This calls for commitment on the part of the leader. When interrogating aspirants, evaluate if the person keeps their word. Avoid individuals who preach water and drink wine.

Accountability: A great leader is one who takes responsibility for everyone’s performance including their own. They should be ready to give an account of how resources are being spent, as well as candidly discuss development issues with the constituents. You will know whether an aspirant is accountable or not by how they respond to questions regarding their past successes or failures.

High emotional intelligence: A good leader has to have high emotional intelligence to enable him manage behaviours, social complexities and make wise decisions.
During the campaign period, our politician’s emotional intelligence is normally put to test. How do they react to criticism? Do they stop to throw stones at every dog that barks at them? A leader who lacks emotional intelligence will only cause division and strife in the country.

Published in February 2017