Managing and leading teams are herculean tasks, whether you choose formal or informal training. In this management and leadership series, Paa Swanzy-Essuman will be conducting series of interviews with managers to look at how they groom their teams and their perspectives on manager trainings.
Roderick Okoampah Ayeh is a Microfinance consultant with extensive knowledge on Ghana’s microfinance industry. He is a social entrepreneur with special interest in leadership and development in Africa and in this interview he shares some perspective on leadership and management and how he blends the two in managing and leading teams.
What’s your definition of a leader in your organization? Is leader synonymous with manager?
The leader is the one who sees the vision of the organization and has the ability to assemble the right team who become bearers of the vision and as well become the vehicle to work towards that vision. The leader sees what others don’t see even when he is looking at the same thing with the rest of his team. Leaders can be managers but not all managers are leaders. In practical terms Leaders are not synonymous to managers.
How do you develop leaders or engage in manager training? Is your approach more formal or informal, classroom-based or experiential?
You develop leaders who first exhibit some leadership traits. You must be able to spot who will fit best as a leader or a manager to start with. It is important that whoever you identify must be willing to become a better leader or manager. Depending on your job setting various forms of approach can help in the development process. Hands on approach is best when you provide the staff an opportunity to carry out an assignment in his own way and by his own method (with the rules in mind). Informal or formal means can be used depending on the situation.
What role does mentorship play in development?
Mentorship plays a great role. It’s one way to identify and improve the leadership potential of people. The hands holding process instill confidence in the person. It is a means of self-recognition. Mentorship breeds more leaders and guide the process of development. Without mentorship less leaders will be developed because majority of the would-be leaders will fizzle out from trying and error.
Why is it important to develop rising leaders before you need them?
People must be given the opportunity to lead from a less responsible leadership position before they receive another high leadership responsibility. Leaders must be developed before you need them so that the errors of leadership can be reduced. Again when leaders are prepared before you need them you only create a continuity process because they are already prepared.
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