Stop and reflect: Is the partnership you are in helping you or making you a ‘slave’?

Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.”
– Tony Blair.

In the last decade, I have looked at some ‘partnerships’ (both local and foreign) in some organisations in Ghana and I have seen an interesting trend that makes Ghanaians subservient.

Signs from ‘partners’ to be careful about:

  1. They give the impression that they are sacrificing so much for you, when in fact they get more benefits by being associated with you.
    They will put costs on the sacrifices they are making (they are very good at that) like travelling (including flight) costs, amount of donations made to you…

When you assess issues critically, you actually may not really need what they offer (or you can do without them), but you will be amazed at the huge amount they mention they have spent on you, and they say this to many people.

Ghanaians generally are very bad at putting costs on services they offer so in all these ‘partnerships’ it appears the partners give more than the local/Ghanaian teams.

  1. Because of the ‘huge’ support they have quantified to give you, they have a sense of entitlement.
    They believe they are part of your organisation. They can come in at anytime, sometimes without even asking, or if you are fortunate, they ask at very short notice, and they do not expect no for an answer.
    They will make you feel bad if you say no. It means you are ungrateful for all the support they give you.

Not only does this apply to they themselves. Their ‘sense of entitlement’ goes further. They believe they can bring others too (usually foreigners) to your organisation at any time they want. You cannot reject them.
At this point, you should know that you have sold your freedom.

  1. They believe they can ask you to do things for them at any time because you are indebted to them.
    They may ask you to do presentations for them/their organisations (often showing the great work they are doing in your institution). The average Ghanaian finds it difficult to say no, even if it inconveniences them. They fear they will be labelled ungrateful.

The inability of the average Ghanaian to say ‘no’ is problematic. It is the cause of many of our problems. Until we rectify this, we shall continue to be ‘slaves’ to others.

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