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Through yourself you know others


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With Aicha

As a leader you must dare to trust your co-workers, want to see them grow and develop and enjoy their work.

Then you can establish true development.

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It is important to believe in yourself, dare to take space and not to feel that you must fit in everywhere .

It is the dissimilarities that create an innovative working climate.

A good boss can handle a group where the individuals are allowed to be diverse.

This is food for thought from a Swedish female space ingenieur, Nina von Krusenstierna.

She has been working as a business and project leader, she is an inventor.

She did her military service, which is not common among women here in Sweden.

She loved the clarity in the military world, became an expert shooter, and what she experienced of leadership there is what she has used in her career as a business leader.

She has allowed herself to explore several areas which has made her prepared for diverse challenges.

She has been studying humanities as well as technique and she feels comfortable in both guilds.

Nina von Krusenstierna is currently working in a nearby city, this city is called Eksjö and is only 40 kilometers from where I live.

She is the head of the development and progress sector and I’m sure she will be perfect for this job according to her great experience and creative mind.

Calling a boss the head of a company or sector is actually a very good expression.

The head is at the top, but it is nothing without the other parts of the body.

A head can’t act alone, it needs all the other limbs too.

The head with its brain is making all the decisions that is leading the body (company etc) forward.

It needs help from the arms and the legs to execute the orders.

The mouth is there to spread the word, share the visions with the others.

The eyes can see the visions but also the consequences.

All parts are depending on each other and that is how we should consider each other at a working place.

The boss can’t cope without the workers and therefore s/he must create a good and creative working environment for everyone.

If the workers are payed well, have adequate education and experience, feel secure and are appreciated, they will do a good job and feel loyal to the company.

Some people believe that just because they have a high position they can treat people badly and that is wrong.

The old fashioned view of a leader of a company, or why not a country, is an authoritarian man.

He is pointing out the direction with a steady hand, he has no doubts whatsoever of where to go or which decisions to make.

This man hear what others are saying, but he listens to no one.

Times has changed and we don’t accept that kind of leader anymore.

No, we ask for someone who is able to see his employees, listen to them and encourage them.

A leader must have a vision, but the way to reach the goal shouldn’t be covered with human sacrifice.

We have a saying here that a sign of someone being a good business man is that he would sell his own mother if he got well payed for her.

It means that nothing is sacred, all means are allowed to reach the goal. A bad leader is prepared to do anything to reach the goals, to succeed, it doesn’t matter if a lot of people are hurt on the way.

When I was doing research for this article, I searched for the charasteristics of a good leader and found these four words:

Trust
Knowledge
Committment
Clarity

I have mentioned the word ”trust” a little, but there is more to say about that.
If you, my dear reader, know some kind of leader; is s/he trustworthy ? Does the employees or collegues always know that they can trust him or her no matter what? Do they know that s/he is a man (or woman) of its word? Does Yes mean Yes and No mean No for this leader? Something I have realized during the years is that I have been met by a lot of empty promises in the Gambia.

Is it just because I’m a toubab, so it doesn’t matter if promises are kept or not? I don’t know the answer to that, but what I have met is that it seems very easy to promise that a document should be ready made, an appointment be held or an agreement being kept. All this is very easy, but it’s many times empty words.

It is so frustrating, but I can’t be the only one who has experienced this is the Gambia. Why is it so hard to keep a time, write that document someone is waiting for or keep an agreement? I have noticed that instead of a telling why something is not possible, or just have to wait, people more or less pretend as they haven’t heard the question.

This is very confusing, especially coming from a completely different culture.

My advice is this: before promising anything – consider the matter for a second and don’t promise more that you intend to hold.

That is honesty, that is fair play, so if you are a leader of a company etc, then expect that from yourself as well as from your employees.

As long as this will continue it will be hard to get a progress in the Gambia. Not everyone can afford giving money under the table to get things done in time.

If we want foreign companies to make business in the Gambia it will be hard if agreements are not kept.

The ones who are responsible for the business arrangements must be able to know that things will be done in time.

No one is interested in fuzzy explanations, an agreement must be kept – end of story.

The next word on the list of charasteristics of a good leader is knowledge. Immediately I began to think of some people I have met during my career.

They are so confident, they are convinced that they know everything that is to know in a certain area.

They are masters in convincing others too that they are very skilled, and the strange thing is that no one seems to be able to see through them. If someone begins to ask uncomfortable questions it is that person who gets criticized, not the one who is questioned. This happens all the time and I’m sad to say that it is mostly men who act like that. Sorry, my male readers!
No one knows everything and it is not shameful to ask for advice or help.

We all depend on each other and you can actually lift somebody by asking that person for help. How? By showing that you trust that person enough to ask for advice, you show confidence.
Committment: being a leader, no matter the area, is nothing you can do without being committed. At least not if you want to do a good job and be proud of yourself.

It takes long days at work and a lot of consideration. It’s not only the business that has to be managed well, but also all of them who are involved in it one way or another.

Once again I will come back to one of my favourite sayings: ”No chain is stronger than its weakest link”.

It is crucial for a successfull business to have skilled staff, but you will never get more out of them than you invest in them. Make your employees and collegues feel that they are important both for you and the business.

In the old days leaders expected from employees, and collegues with lower rank, to never question any decision and never ask anything for themselves.

Times has changed and unions get stronger.

We get influences from other countries and the more educated and skilled people become, the more they expect to be appreciated for their qualifications.

We can’t expect a person who has a very low salary, and long and hard working days, to be committed to his or her job. People need to be appreciated and seen as individuals, not as a working crowd that only has one mission – to make the leader richer.

Clarity is the last word on the list of characteristics of a good leader.

What this leader needs to begin with is to find this clarity within him- or herself.

The topic of this article is: ”Through yourself you know others.

” It is necessary to become a bit introvert from time to time.

Make a list of the characteristics you wish to find within yourself and try your best to achieve them.

Many of us have met different kind of leaders, both good and bad.

Life is giving us many lessons and we can learn from both the good and the bad. A good leader is a rolemodel so from that person we can pick the parts that are useful in our own business.

The bad leader has shown us how we don’t want to act or be treated.

When we think back on how this person has behaved, and how s/he made us feel, we know that we shouldn’t repeat these mistakes. We don’t only learn from our own mistakes, but also from others.

A good leader is using a lot of time considering what needs to be done, who should do it and how to tell that to the person in question.

If the leader is clear in his or her thoughts, it will show in his or her actions.

There will be no orders followed by contra orders just because everything went too fast and it wasn’t thought through.

People respect a leader who is clear and who can explain given orders.

The orders can even be uncomfortable, but if they are combined with a good and clear explanation it is easier to accept them. People are not machines or robots without emotions.

In most circumstances it is possible to take some time to explain why you wish people to do something. Even if everything is clear for you, you can’t expect others to be able to read your mind. A leader must have a longterm plan for the business.

There must be a goal, but that goal is achieved in many small steps. Try to keep in mind that most people have troubles with changes.

They feel uncomfortable when they can’t follow the old routines and have to learn something new.

For some people it takes longer than for others to get used to new things. Allow them to get used to the thought first, before you implement the change.

Allow them to ask questions and be prepared to explain over and over again.

If you show your people that respect you will find that it is a good investment. You will find loyal staff that are prepared to work together with you to reach the goal.

Always remember that no chain is stronger than its weakest link. What if YOU are that link?

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