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.