Abundant literature – both internationally and locally, describe Africa as a continent glazed with the notions of bad leadership which express its self in social problems like corruption, poverty, nepotism, unemployment, dilapidated health facilities, ineffective
Often, the ability to lead one’s self is the major issue around good community leadership. The trajectory is Self-leadership before Positional leadership. Therefore, Transformation cannot be said to have taken place if the individual has not mastered the ability to lead self. Again, for transformation to take place, the trajectory is Self-leadership then Transformative leadership.
To this end, LEAP Africa and Mastercard Foundation are partnering to work with 611 Teacher Mentors (TM) who are volunteering in the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program in 5 African countries (Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia), to equip them to be role models of transformative leadership and providing them with tools to support the leadership development of Scholars.
What does transformative leadership mean in the context of the Transformative Leadership Program
Relative to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, Transformative Leadership is seen from three major lenses – engaging others, ethical manner, generate positive and lasting change. Without these major metrics being achieved, it is believed that transformation has not taken place and as such, a leader has not been birthed. So, by definition, Transformative Leadership is the act of engaging others in an ethical manner to generate positive and lasting change.
Mastercard Transformative Leadership Framework
The Mastercard Transformative Leadership Framework defines transformative leadership and lays out the core competencies of a transformative leader, including key skills (such as adaptability, critical thinking, and self-awareness) and mindsets (such as courage, empathy and vision). The Framework also identifies three essential modalities for developing transformative leadership: instruction, model, and practice. It emphasizes that the opportunity for reflection portends the chance for scholars to engage their minds to solve real problems of society. Instruction includes efforts in and out of the classroom to teach and share leadership skills and mindsets. Model refers to the opportunity to expose Scholars to role models and transformative leaders, both personally and indirectly by learning about famous and lesser-known leaders in Africa and globally. Practice is the process where Scholars actively engage in activities that require and enable them to exercise their leadership skills and mindsets.”
Let us then look at the three indices from the definition –
- Engaging others: the notion here suggest that the individual must have mastered the art of self-leadership, that is, having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behavior on the way to getting there1 . In the words of the late Nelson Mandela- “One of the most difficult things is not to change the society but to change yourself”. Even though self-leadership is considered critical to the development of any society, unfortunately in Africa, we suffer in the hands of leaders who obviously cannot lead themselves to achieve “legitimate” personal objectives. It’s a tragedy!
Because leadership is directly affected by the awareness and belief in one’s self, the TLP module offers TMs the opportunity to be led on a journey to explore their strengths, natural abilities, personalities, experiences, and biases, and coached on how to lead their scholars on similar journeys. TMs are introduced to the foundations of self-confidence and discuss ways to increase in self-confidence.
- Ethical manner: Young people in Africa suffer from inadequate role models in leadership to follow and emulate. Today, most of the challenges faced in the continent are traceable to the lack of ethical leaders. Unfortunately, young people are now growing to take on leadership positions without any clue about the importance of having the right values. Laden in the modules of the Transformative Leadership Program is Values and Integrity which presents TMs with and discuss the importance of core values, and integrity as critical to other values. TMs are then encouraged to evaluate their value systems, explore and identify their personal core values, and discuss how to translate their values into action.
- Generate positive and lasting change: in the end, any leader that does not inspire their followers towards attaining positive change is at best a follower. The Mastercard Transformative Leadership Framework, therefore, focuses on an agile approach to grooming leaders who will be generators of sustainable positive growth.
What does the Transformative Leadership Program mean to Teacher Mentors (TM)
For the Teacher Mentors, the Training of Trainers was truly a refreshing time of learning. They were present, open minded and participated fully, commenting that they had learned skills and concepts that would be useful not only in their roles as Teacher Mentors but in their lives. For some of them, it is a call to serve, for others, it is a call to increase opportunities for the disadvantaged.
For Miriam, the Transformative Leadership Program is about supporting and enabling Scholars through the process of achieving their goals. She says – “I want to change the life of a scholar- to make them believe that they can be great people and work towards achieving it.”
For Tamara Hope, the TLP brings to her mind a nostalgic feeling from a humble background which inspires her to always strive to help people of similar experience. She narrates – “I have a passion for the disadvantaged. Personally, I am from a similar background and was given the opportunity.”
For Irene, it’s about her passion to see adolescents becoming responsible adults. Shay said, “ I am a Teacher Mentor because I love guiding adolescents so that they can grow up as responsible adults.” – Irene.
Teacher Mentors (TM) are expected to actively begin post training engagement in April 2019. The journey to raising leaders that will transform Africa continues