Category Archives: Leadership

Junior President: a Lesson on Bouncing Back

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Perrykent Nkole

After watching the grand finale of Junior President on Sunday 4th October, 2015 I remembered one post I had shared with my WhatsApp group and on my Facebook wall on 8th September, 2015. Here it is.

Junior President is a TV show that has young people playing the role of republican president. They are given assignments that they have to execute as presidents. Some of their assignments involve group work where others are individually done.

During one of the group assignments a contestant named Perrykent Nkole was group leader. At the end of the assignment he had to make a speech on behalf of his team. As someone who has been in the public speaking arena for 12 years I can tell you that his delivery was pathetic! The young man could not just cut it. It could easily qualify as the worst performance of the entire show.

BUT the young man survived and was able to bounce back. The last time I checked he was the only man remaining on the show. The other two were ladies. Even after such a disaster of a speech he went on to do so well on subsequent assignments. The way I see it he could just be the one to scoop the prize.

See, it does not matter how much you have messed up in the past. You can still pick yourself up and go again. Don’t let mistakes of the past hinder you from moving into the future. Use them as learning points so that you can be better and do better. Don’t write yourself off. You can always bounce back-if you wish.

Perrykent Nkole was announced winner of Junior President on Sunday. Congratulations are in order.

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Isaac C. Mwiya
Author | Motivational Speaker | Trainer

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Zambian writer Namwali Serpell wins 2015 Caine prize for African writing

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Namwali Serpell has become the first Zambian writer to win the prestigious Caine prize for African writing, for a short story described as “truly luminous” by judges.

The £10,000 award, which counts African winners of the Nobel prize for literature Wole Soyinka and JM Coetzee amongst its patrons, is for a short story by an African writer published in English. Serpell , an associate professor of English in the University of California, Berkeley, won for The Sack [which can be downloaded as a PDF here]. The story explores the power struggle between two men, one very ill, and the woman who came between them.

“I know what the colour of my skin means to someone of our generation,” she writes. “His eyes have changed. I think he is going to kill me. I think that is what these dreams are telling me. Naila. I cannot remember your hands.”

Serpell said her story was about two men who had known each other since childhood, how they have gone through “a long process of trying to build a political movement together, which failed, and in the process falling in love with the same woman, who died. It’s about trying to come to terms with that”.

“It has multiple inspirations,” she added. “When I was 17 I had a dream about a sack, and I didn’t know if I was on the inside or the outside. I found it very disturbing. The Japanese horror director Takashi Miike’s Audition, which also involves a sack, is another inspiration, and it also draws from an encounter I had with [another student] when I was a graduate student.

“I was studying American and British fiction, and she was studying African contemporary fiction, and her theory was that any time you saw a sack in African literature, it was a hidden reference to the transatlantic slave trade. I was kind of writing my story against that.”

Winning the prize, she said, didn’t seem real until she managed to tell her family in Zambia. “It was a real honour just to be on the shortlist,” she added.

Serpell’s story beat Nigerian writer and former Caine prize winner Segun Afolabi ’s The Folded Leaf, Nigerian Elnathan John ’s Flying, and two South African stories: FT Kola ’s A Party for the Colonel and Masande Ntshanga ’s Space to win the prize.

The South African writer Zoë Wicomb, who chaired the judging panel, called it “formally innovative, stylistically stunning, haunting and enigmatic in its effects”, and an “extraordinary story about the aftermath of revolution with its liberatory promises shattered”.

“It makes demands on the reader and challenges conventions of the genre. It yields fresh meaning with every reading,” she said. Wicomb was joined on the judging panel by the Booker-shortlisted author Neel Mukherjee, former Caine prizewinner Brian Chikwava, Royal African Society chair and journalist Zeinab Badawi, and Georgetown University assistant professor of English Cóilín Parsons.

Serpell, who was named one of the most promising writers for the Africa 39 Anthology, has had a story selected for the Best American Short Stories collection in the past, and was shortlisted for the 2010 Caine prize. She published her first book of literary criticism, Seven Modes of Uncertainty, last year.

She is now working on a novel, she said. “I’m pitching it as the great Zambian novel you didn’t know you wanted to read,” she said. “It’s a sprawling multi-generational saga, which travels between many different countries. I’m about a third of the way through.”

The Guardian

Mandela Washington Fellowship

President Obama Speaking at the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellowship in Washington, D.C

President Obama Speaking at the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellowship in Washington, D.C

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of  President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies his commitment to invest in the future of Africa.

The first class of Mandela Washington Fellows arrived (in the United States of America) in June 2014 for six weeks of intensive executive leadership training, networking, and skills building, followed by a Presidential Summit in Washington, D.C.

Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.  Selected Mandela Washington Fellows should be prepared for an academically and professionally challenging program.

The Fellowship is designed to encourage and foster the ingenuity, confidence, passion, and commitment of the next generation of African leaders.  It offers young leaders an unparalleled opportunity to meet and share ideas with some of America’s dedicated leaders from community organizers to the President of the United States.  The Mandela Washington Fellowship will challenge preconceived ideas and open new horizons for those who embrace the experience.

The first class of Mandela Washington Fellows comprised 500 young leaders from across Africa drawn from the tracks of Public Management, Civic Leadership and Business and Entrepreneurship.

The application for the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders will open on October 7th and will run on up to November 5th, 2014. To find out if you are eligible read the Mandela Washington Fellowship Application Instructions.

If you do qualify and decide to apply do not be in a rush. Make sure to build a good resume. To find out what exactly will be required read this article on Building Your Resume.

Best wishes!

Authentic Leadership Doesn’t Pigeon Hole People

By Steve Keating

Authentic Leadership is a balancing act.

An authentic leader must understand the strengths and weaknesses of their people. They must make judgments about their people and make certain that they are giving their people the best chance to succeed.

It’s a balancing act because authentic leaders can’t afford to be judgmental while making the judgments required to help their people succeed. Authentic leaders know better than to apply their own life’s circumstances and values to the situations and decisions of their people. Authentic leaders accept most everything at face value.

Authentic leaders know that judging a person does more to define themselves than it does the person they judge. They also know that every person is in someway unique and gifted. Authentic leaders invest the time to discover what those gifts are and find a way to put them to use.

Authentic leaders are realists and they are fair. There will always be a person or persons who a leader “prefers” working with but that preference shouldn’t mean “extra” benefits or opportunities for that “preferred” person. Rules and policies apply equally or they don’t really apply at all.

Most of all, a leader should never pigeon hole their people.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term “pigeon hole” it means to decide that someone or something belongs to a particular type or group, especially without knowing much about them.

This is where authentic leaders really separate themselves from the more common leader: They know their people. They know what motivates them, they know their challenges and goals. They see their people as PEOPLE and not merely a resource to be allocated.

They invest the time everyday, yes everyday, to understand them as people. They work to understand their environment, backgrounds, past successes and failures. They can make judgments without being judgmental because they know where their people are coming from.

If you’re a leader who believes (accurately) that your own success is dependent upon the success of your people then don’t judge what you don’t know. If you’re a leader who believes that your organization’s greatest asset is it’s people then invest your time with your greatest asset.

People want to matter and when they know that they matter to you then and only then will you have the opportunity to truly lead.


 

Steve Keating

Steve Keating

Steve has over 29 years of sales and sales management experience and he speaks dozens of times a year on topics relating to sales, customer service, management, team building, leadership and business management.

1977 Graduate of University of Minnesota

Certified by Sales & Marketing Executives International as a Certified Professional Salesperson, Certified Sales Executive and Certified Marketing Executive

Visit Steve’s website at http://stevekeating.me

 

5 Sacrifices A Leader Must Make

Linked 2 Leadership

Sacrifice

You may believe that as a leader your job is relatively easy, where you simply watch over and manage the behaviour of your employees; this is not so. As a leader, you have a number of responsibilities including not only watching over your employees but ensuring that they manage their work effectively and that they are happy.

It’s also part of your job to make sacrifices for the company and for those that work below you.

Not all of these sacrifices have to be extravagant or draw attention to your person, but they have to be made for the right reasons.

5 Sacrifices A Leader Must Make

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sac·ri·fice [ sákrə f̄̀ss ]

  1. giving up of something valued: a giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered to be of more value or importance

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1) Sacrificing Time and Energy

Giving both your time and energy…

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