Felix Mutati and Raphael Nakacinda are warning that the propaganda used by the Patriotic Front to kick MMD out of power will be used in the same way if they do not deal with the signs of arrogance in some of their leaders.
It’s true the MMD of Rupiah Banda had become too arrogant to be supported. Rupiah himself would tell those trying to question his expenditure on travel: nindalama za nyoko!
Michael Sata was not spared by Rupiah whenever he tried to correct or advise him on some of his decisions and actions.
Sometimes the arrogance was so repugnant that people cheered when Rupiah failed, even if it means that all suffered, too. Rupiah embodied several arrogant traits and behaviours that were detrimental to his leadership success. His arrogance led him to truly believe he was the smartest person in the country. And he even made some of those around him feel they were the smartest Zambians. Rupiah publicly praised Dora Siliya as being very smart – earning her the nickname of Smart Dora.
Edgar Lungu and his minions in the Patriotic Front, as Felix and Raphael correctly observe, did not take long to fall into this trap of arrogance. It got to their heads very quickly. Listen to their language! Listen to Edgar’s arrogance whenever he opens his mouth! Listen to the arrogance of Amos Chanda, Kaiser Zulu, Stephen Kampyongo, Bowman Lusambo! Even Dora has not changed – she’s still very arrogant.
There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. When leaders are confident, they have a deep belief in their ability to help others and make a difference in the lives of their people. Confidence is an important competency in leadership, and it’s critical to leadership success. Confidence is motivational and inspirational to others. It gives those around you the ability to take risks needed to stay innovative and push things further ahead.
Arrogance crosses the line of confidence. Arrogant people believe they no longer have a need to learn, grow, or change. They wholeheartedly believe they are right and that others are wrong.
If you have ever worked for an arrogant boss, you know they don’t listen, they do not change their mind when they are wrong, and they are often disrespectful to those around them.
Arrogance destroys the valuable, and absolutely essential, relationships a leader has with other people. Even more devastating is the feeling arrogant behaviour creates in others. People have no desire to follow an arrogant leader.
Arrogant leaders might as well wear a sign proclaiming ‘I am arrogant!’ Arrogant leaders are easy to identify by their communication style, both verbal and nonverbal. When things don’t go their way in a conversation, they raise their voices, swear for impact, or put people down in front of others.
Arrogance in public life is a serious problem, especially when it begins at the topmost leadership level. It’s also one of the most difficult vices to work with and overcome, and leads to a serious reputation problem. There are only two types of reputations: good reputations and bad reputations. Anything in the middle is leadership gray matter, not a reputation.
But with focused effort and hard work, one can change his reputation from one of arrogance to one of servant leadership and humility.
And times for Edgar and his minions to listen to the advice of their friends – Felix and Raphael – and change.
We’re all attracted to confident people who know where they’re headed, especially the leaders we want to follow. But take one wrong step into the terrain of arrogance and people dynamics change and trust erodes.
That’s where the strength of humility comes in handy in leaders, but it is rarefied air.