Editor's Comment

Leaders must be approachable


PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he will continue to promote an open-door policy governance system and people are free to criticise him.
This is indeed commendable and a true mark of good leadership.
The President said he will ensure that he is approachable in his leadership just like late former Mukuba Secondary School alumni chairperson Moses Malunda.
Mr Lungu said this yesterday during a funeral church service for the late Mr Malunda at United Church of Zambia (UCZ) Trinity Congregation.
“My lesson from Moses is his nature to be approachable. He was a leader but was approachable. Let us make ourselves approachable so that our weaknesses can be corrected,” the President said.
Mr Lungu said citizens should be free to tell him when he is wrong.
President Lungu is right; a good leader does not distance himself from the people he leads but creates rapport.
The mistake that some leaders make is that they create barriers between themselves and the people they lead.
This is failure to understand that one of the key factors to successful leadership is being open and approachable.
A leader is just one individual and cannot be in every place to know what is going on. He or she, therefore, depends on people in various locations to feed him or her with information on what is going on.
Needless to say, no leader knows everything no matter how genius, and, therefore, needs the support of those he leads to be successful.
A wise leader is cognisant of the fact that he needs people around him to be able to deliver success.
As President Lungu rightly noted, he needs people to tell him where he goes wrong.
Similarly, he needs people to tell him the truth of what is going on in the country as opposed to depending on a few individuals who surround him.
A President in particular needs people to share ideas on how he can best govern the country.
The best way a President or indeed any other leader can get input and support from the people governed is through an open-door policy.
An open-door policy means that any well-meaning Zambian, regardless of status or political affiliation, can approach the Head of State to share ideas.
It is indisputable that President Lungu has proved to be one of the most approachable presidents the country has ever had.
Those who are sincere will attest that President Lungu has made it easy for people to interact with him whether at State House or indeed any other fora.
Every time President Lungu visits other countries, he makes time to interact with Zambians in the diaspora to get their views and share developments back home.
Many stakeholders, both Zambian and foreigners, and across sectors have had an opportunity to meet the head of State upon request.
The Head of State has also time and again appealed to the opposition political parties to feel free to share ideas with him on how to improve this country.
Those who interact with the President closely attest that he is a down-to-earth and approachable man despite occupying the highest office in the land.
This is what true and good leadership ought to be.
This is what is expected of all leaders regardless of level or sector.
All leaders must be approachable.
It is also hoped that political leaders such as councillors, Members of Parliament and Ministers, among others, will emulate the head of State by staying connected to the people they lead.
Time and again we hear complaints of how MPs abandon their constituencies after being voted for. Some MPs only return to their constituencies when it is election time to seek another term. Such must be rejected and replaced with those who understand the importance of working with people.
President Lungu has shown the way, let others follow.

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