Community leadership is one of the most important things in a society and also one which everybody can become because community leadership often times is leadership around a cause. Time and again, community leadership is more or less leading, mobilizing around a cause.
Community leadership is quite challenging because the community knows the quality of your life is on the line. If you are living in a community or town your family life is never a secret people know the quality of your family life and your attitude to people. So leadership involves the life of the leader, the contest and the type of people around in the case of community leadership your life quality count a lot for people to trust you. In literature there is something called idiosyncratic credit theory; Hollander’s theory it says elected leaders feel more legitimacy and are more likely to behave idiosyncratically, but are also more subject to criticism. It goes on to say that leaders earn credits that allow them to innovate, that is, to act in ways or suggest strategies that deviate from traditional approaches of the group or behave idiosyncratically. The other theory says that you must also be someone who supplies a felt need of the community of love or concern or a skill that they need. I believe that in our society today partly as a result of the politics they have destroyed community leadership because politicians impose on the community leaders. We have destroyed community leadership because the real leaders therefore are not given the opportunity to lead.
For my wife and me, we just try to live as God wanted us to and the others come in for advice and we provide the help. I think increasingly it’s getting on me specific areas of youth leadership in terms of entrepreneurship, personal financial management etc. and so this is the joy of community leadership. You are not paid for it but you really see lives being helped and it’s something which I have found so rewarding and encourage people despite the challenges. It means that you have to open your life to others and your house to others which unfortunately is becoming more difficult.
Once you are in a community, leadership contest because you have rejected positional leadership, you mentor and help other people in making society better. If you have ideas it has to be accepted by the authorities and that is a unique form of servant leadership that all of us are not used to including myself. I am still learning in a new way, how to be a leader without a position out of love, out of concern, out of support and serving those who are in positional leadership.
Another area of community leadership that has been a challenge and I don’t think I have done too well and I am now trying to make amends is my village. So our communities have remained the same for decades. How do we then provide leadership in that sense? It is one of the things I am struggling with. Leadership requires you to be there with them. It will require a few others to have a microfinance system. The other day I went there and two guys had a project they wanted to do; vegetable farming which will be very profitable but they required about GHs900 to GHs1000. This is where a microfinance system comes in. Some of them would need advice and so on. So community leadership requires the person, also it requires identifying certain projects which would help the people like the community secondary school am trying to build with my wife.
Community leadership is a very difficult one because to politicians, power is everything and they want to capture the leadership at any level as means of securing their power. Therefore, people like me and you have to be proactive. If you have the resources to help your community, do so without any political affiliation. You can lend support to people to improve their farms, micro-financing and other areas. There must be some effort to cultivate community leadership but it is not going to be easy because of how strong politics is becoming in our society.