3 Ways of being an accountable leader that young women can look up to

Very recently, two separate incidents disappointed me on the current state of our Kenyan Women leaders. I decided to share a few ideas on how I believe women leaders should behave in order to inspire young women in this country. Since our youth desperately needs Kenyan role models and they are not easy to find amongst our leaders.

The first incident was the voting of the marriage bill in parliament. The women representatives who were in parliament that day walked out to show their displeasure of the bill. My main point is not really the marriage bill but the women leaders’ actions. First, only 13 women representatives were present that day to dispute the bill and when they didn’t get their way, they walked off. I later heard from another male member of parliament who stated two facts; once, there are a total of 68 women reps in the parliament (where were the other 55?). Second, none of the women had presented any amendments to the bill during the period of time they had been given to do so if they didn’t agree with the bill in any way (Why? If they had been so vehemently against it?). If we as women want to make a difference, I believe that we should take steps to amend or change laws in our favor, or at least to be fair to us. I don’t believe we should panic and protest at the last minute, scream and storm off when people don’t listen to us or we don’t have our way. It gives all women a bad name and this behavior coming from our leaders is a bad reflection of the women that we youth are supposed to be looking up to.

The second incident was of a nominated female senator, who was caught in the recent police crackdown of drunk driving, they were administering the alco-blow test and arresting the drivers that did not pass. There are several things wrong with this incident. It is not only sad that a leader was caught drinking and driving, it is tragic that it was a woman leader. Leaders are the ones who put laws in place, such as ‘no drinking and driving’ in order to save Kenyan lives. They should therefore ‘try’ and lead by example. Also, as a woman who is quite possibly a mother, she should reduce her risk of mortality by being careful in life, why would you put yourself in a position that endangers your life and those of your fellow Kenyans when you know the statistics yourself? This two incidents have made me sad because it is blatantly obvious that young women seriously lack women leaders to look up to in Kenya. So I’ve decided that we as ladies should start making a difference and leading by example from the grass-root level. I’m sure we can make a difference to each other in this way. We don’t have to be political leaders or hold great positions to be leaders in our community.

Here are a few simple and important ways you can be an accountable leader that your peers and youth as well, can look up to.

1. Lead by Example

This is a very obvious way of being accountable. If you’re preaching to people how to be better citizens, you should show them that you do it as well. People are more likely to choose and follow a person who does as they preach. Therefore; if you tell people not to drink and drive, make sure that if you do happen to go out and drink; call a taxi cab and arrange for your car to be picked up later. You can also sign-up with driving services that offer the service of taking you home in their cars as well as driving your car home following behind you. This ensures that both you and your car arrive home safely. There are many ways of leading by example and it’s a great way for leaders to help out and influence youth out there.

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Wangari Maathai led by example-she planted trees (courtesy:takingactionfilm.com)

2. Stick To your Principles

I believe that everyone has principles they believe in. These are what guide our decision-making in every important aspect of our lives. However, there are tough times in our lives that our principles are questioned and these are very important and life-changing moments in one’s life. It can be very hard, but I believe that no matter what, sticking to your principles makes you a great and inspirational person, one that anyone can look up to. It is these times when you are tested that you should stick closely to your principles. A lot of Kenyan leaders have failed in these opportunities, especially in certain cases where they choose either money and positions instead of sticking to their principles. I think that we young women should emulate a great leader such as Wangari Maathai (may she rest in peace). She always stood by what she believed in and was willing to suffer and sacrifice for it.

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Wangari Maathai protested for the environmental future she wanted and believed in (courtesy: aljazeera.com)

She stood by her principles and even though it was a long journey for her, she was able to achieve many goals for her cause and was recognized for it. Our female leaders should take a page from her book.

3. Listen and learn from those who support you

This may sound easy but as we’ve all seen from our Kenyan politics, a great example being our MPs (Member of Parliaments), this doesn’t always happen. It is very important to learn from your fans, voters, employees, supporters etc. (whether you’re a  celebrity, politician, business person or just a regular person). People who support you and have helped you get to where you are have your best interests at heart. So it is wise to listen to their problems, advice or queries and try to understand them; if possible, solve them. You should never believe that you are above anyone, I believe we are all equal. I believe that one can learn from customers (even the ones complaining), from people at the grass-root level, from C.E.O.s, elderly people and even very young children. All you have to do is be willing to listen and learn.

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Oprah is an influential woman leader who is very good at listening to people

I believe if our Kenyan leaders did so, they would make an even greater impact in our society and youth would most definitely look up to them for sure.

I believe if we can start with these three simple ways, we can be very influential leaders in our area, business or homes. If you have any other comments or suggestions on how a leader can be accountable, Please feel free to comment below.

Now go out there and start leading by example people ^_^!

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