Leadership styles vary across the globe, reflecting the unique cultural, historical, and political contexts of each region. Today, we examine the contrasting leadership styles of African nations and Western countries, with a specific focus on the qualities of humility and… pic.twitter.com/fjBIFd0DYE— ZimEye (@ZimEye) June 8, 2023
By Dorrothy Moyo | Imagine catching Emmerson Mnangagwa walking alone in First Street, Harare in the morning.
Leadership styles vary across the globe, reflecting the unique cultural, historical, and political contexts of each region. In this article, we will examine the contrasting leadership styles of African nations and Western countries, with a specific focus on the qualities of humility and simplicity in how heads of state relate to ordinary people. Drawing a comparison to Salma’s encounter with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, who walked alone among the public, we will explore whether leaders like Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe can emulate the accessibility demonstrated by Ian Smith in Harare’s First Street.
- Cultural Context and Leadership:
African nations possess rich cultural traditions that often emphasize communal values and a close connection between leaders and the people. This cultural backdrop can influence leadership styles, promoting humility and simplicity as desirable traits in heads of state. Conversely, Western countries may prioritize other leadership qualities such as assertiveness and strategic decision-making.
- Humility in African Leadership:
Humility in African leadership often manifests in leaders’ willingness to listen to and engage with ordinary citizens. Many African leaders recognize the importance of remaining grounded and accessible, enabling them to gain insight into the needs and aspirations of their constituents. This humility is often rooted in cultural values of respect and collective welfare.
- Simplicity in African Leadership:
Simplicity in African leadership reflects a desire to be relatable to the ordinary people. It involves leaders engaging in activities that are accessible and familiar to the general population, like walking or cycling among them. By doing so, leaders can bridge the gap between themselves and the citizens, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose.
- Contrasting Western Leadership Styles:
In the Western context, leadership styles often prioritize professionalism, strategic thinking, and maintaining a certain level of distance from the general public. While accessibility is valued, Western leaders may choose alternative methods, such as town hall meetings or public speeches, to engage with citizens.
- Salma’s Encounter vs. African Leaders:
The example of Salma meeting the Prime Minister of the Netherlands walking alone in the street highlights the accessibility and simplicity of Western leaders. While this encounter may appear ordinary in the Western context, it can be seen as a departure from traditional African leadership practices, where leaders may not engage in such spontaneous and direct interactions with the public.
- Emmerson Mnangagwa and Ian Smith:
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the current President of Zimbabwe, operates in a different political landscape compared to his predecessor, Ian Smith. While Smith was known for his humble and simple leadership style, walking or cycling among the people, Mnangagwa’s approach may differ due to a variety of factors, including security concerns, political dynamics, and evolving societal expectations.
- Evolving Leadership Styles:
Leadership styles are not fixed but adapt to changing circumstances and societal expectations. African leaders like Mnangagwa may adopt different approaches to leadership, incorporating elements of humility and simplicity while also addressing the challenges and realities of their time.
Leadership styles in African nations and the West exhibit significant differences, reflecting the unique cultural, historical, and political contexts of each region. While African leaders often emphasize humility and simplicity to foster a close connection with ordinary people, Western leaders may adopt different approaches that balance accessibility with other leadership qualities. As the world evolves, leaders like Emmerson Mnangagwa have the opportunity to adapt their leadership styles to incorporate elements of humility and simplicity while addressing the complex challenges of their nations.