Be careful when constituting a team – Kofi Annan warns leaders

Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra, Aug.10, GNA – Dr Kofi Atta Annan, the
Former United Nations Secretary-General, has cautioned individuals who find
themselves in leadership positions to constitute strong teams comprising
persons who believe in their ideas and principles.

“As a leader one of the important things you
must focus attention on is the team you form, you have to build a strong team
to complement your efforts, and I often warn leaders… you have to be extremely
careful when you’re putting together a team,” he said.

He attributed his successes at the UN to hard
work, support from his wife, whom he described as his anchor, liked-minded
staff who understood his ideas and principles and the support he enjoyed around
the world.

Dr Kofi Annan was answering a question
concerning how he chalked great successes as the UN Secretary-General at a
fundraising ceremony organised by the Mfantsipim Old Boys Association (MOBA) in
Accra, on Thursday.

He said he selected strong personalities who
showed support in most difficult and dark moments and, therefore, he knew he
was not alone during challenging times.

“I know people were praying for me and that
gave me a lot of strength to continue the good work to improve the lots of
humanity and peace in the world,” he said.

“If you have to interview candidates to fill
positions, you need to ask yourself these questions… what is required? What is
the challenge? What is this person bringing on the table?” he added.

Mr Annan said: “If team members are empowered
to perform, they shine and you also shine, so try to surround yourself with
strong people who will push you to do your best”.

Commenting on some challenging and difficult
decisions he took as the Secretary-General, Mr Annan said there were times he
took bold decisions on certain issues for instance, the attack on Iraq by the
United States of America and UK, which he opposed.

“At times my team will
say…Secretary-General…you have to stick your neck out on this issue and when I
looked around the room, and I realised that the neck they were volunteering was
mine,” he said.

He said Africa needed courageous, persistent
and compassionate leaders who would tap into the continent’s vitality to create
a better future.

Mr Annan said Africa needed true democratic
leaders who understood that they were at the service of their citizens, saying;
“Leadership is service, leaders must understand that they hold power in trust
of the people and can also be taken away”.

“There can be no long term peace and security
without development, and there can be no long term development without peace
and security, and no society can prosper without respect for the rule of law
and human right.

“The African continent development cannot and
will not come from a single leader but from the collective transformation and
change from all the citizens, each one has a role to play whether in our
family, communities or countries,” he said.

The MOBA annual event, known as the “MOBA
Ebusuapanyin’s Lunch,”  aims at creating
a platform for discourse on issues of national interest.


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