Fr Christopher Sakala of St Anne’s Parish in Chipata Catholic Diocese says most of the leaders in Africa lack humility.
“I also look at our African leaders, what I notice in most of our African leaders is that they lack the example of Zacheaus. Most of our leaders in Africa, they lack humility. They are not grateful. They are not generous even to the people who put them in power,” says Fr Sakala. We agree.
Was Socrates right that humility is a prerequisite to good leadership.
What does “humble leadership” even look like?
Everyone has some idea about what humility means. It is an attitude toward oneself somewhere between loathing and superiority. A humble person does not view herself as more important than others, but neither does she lack self-worth. Some scholars have defined it as the accurate estimation of one’s own importance, abilities and value.
The story of George Washington as a reluctant president, more interested in supporting a fledgling nation than his own glorification, serves as one of the most notable examples from American history.
Humility benefits public officials by increasing openness to different ideas. It encourages individuals to freely reconsider beliefs when presented with new information, which is a requirement for good policy-making.
The likelihood of sustained high performance is greater with humble leaders.
Humble leaders tend to share credit and invest genuine effort in serving others.
The inevitable loss of leadership is more likely to hurt a party or society built around a leader’s personality than one with a strong collective reputation supported by humble leadership.
Humble politicians may be better at building more efficient and effective governments and political parties in the long term.
Perhaps the most significant consequence of a lack of humility is an increased likelihood of ethical lapses. An inflated sense of self-importance may make a person likely to put their own needs above others, contrary to the demands of public service. A willful conflict-of-interest violation could more easily result, for example.