No condition is permanent: when leaders surround themselves with only people who agree with them, blocking people with divergent views

Sunday, November 27, 2022.

Time flies. I have seen it myself. ‘So soon’ I’ve worked as a medical doctor in a district hospital in Ghana for over 20 years. I have greyed. Whether I like it or not, pension is staring at me…

I have seen the transition, not only for myself: from a House Officer through a Medical Officer, Resident and then a Specialist, Senior Specialist (and Consultant for some). I rose higher than some of the seniors I met earlier in my career, and some of my juniors (including students and House Officers) have risen in the ranks and are now my bosses. No condition is permanent. This calls for humility.

I have listened and read from some retired people who wished they had a second opportunity. They would have done many things differently. Why didn’t they see the need to do things differently and make the necessary changes when they had the power? Many surrounded themselves only with people who agreed with them, sang their praises, and blocked those with different views from coming closer.

I have seen this myself. I do not claim to be the repository of all wisdom, but when I have a different view from the general concensus, I try to express them, often through writing. And I try to share them with people who have the opportunity to use what I suggest to change the status quo for the better. They may not be my friends, and I wouldn’t bother to send them the messages if they didn’t hold the positions to make it possible for them to effect change. Some don’t take my messages kindly. They say I am disrespectful, for invading their ‘private spaces.’

Many block me on WhatsApp. A few of them after they have retired (and are lonely) may want to read my messages, even discuss the same things I wrote that they could have acted on to change our situation when they were in power.

Leadership is not easy. Especially in our part of the world where many people want to get in touch with leaders for their personal gain, it is difficult to open your ‘private spaces’ to people. If, however, you find somebody who is not interested in personal gain, but ready to express divergent views that many will not make you aware as a leader, you should treasure such a person. The person’s ‘radical’ views may help you as leader shape a future that may benefit you in your retirement and old age.

No condition is permanent.

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