Les 10 questions qui sont au cœur du livre de John Maxwell « Mettez à l’épreuve vos rêves sont les suivants :
1. L’appropriation de vos rêves : est-ce vraiment votre rêve ? Etes-vous prêts à rester connecté avec ce rêve, à développer suffisamment de confiance en vous, à vous évaluer pour mieux faire face aux limitations, craintes, etc. ?
2. La clarté de vos rêves – Le rêve est-il clair en vous ? Voyez-vous clairement ce rêve ? Etes-vous concentré sur ce rêve, vous impose-t-il une direction, vous pousse à définir des priorités et vous motive ?
3. La réalité de vos rêves – Est-ce que vous êtes poussé ou paralysé par des facteurs que vous contrôlez ou ne contrôlez pas pour réaliser votre ? Ce rêve s’appuie-t-il sur vos forces et qualités réelles, et sur votre réel potentiel ?
4. La passion de vos rêves – Etes-vous vraiment passionné de votre rêve de sorte qu’il vous mobilise, vous pousse à aller de l’avant, à affronter les adversités ?
5. Le chemin vers vos rêves – Est-ce vous disposez d’une stratégie pour aller vers votre rêve et l’atteindre ? Avez-vous un plan ? Comment faire pour vous débarrasser de tout ce qui n’est pas essentiel et qui alourdit votre traversée vers ce rêve ?
6. Les personnes concernées – Etes-vous accompagné par les personnes qu’il faut pour réaliser ce rêve ? Qui devrait être à côté de vous ? Dans votre équipe ? Pour vous inspirer ? Des gens qui seront honnêtes avec vous ? Dont les compétences complètent les vôtres ? Auxquels vous pouvez transférer une vision ?
7. Le coût en jeu – Etes-vous prêts à payer le prix qu’il faut pour réaliser leurs rêves ? A supporter les sacrifices qu’il faut ? Etes-vous capables en cours de route de vaincre la peur, de payer le prix d’un travail ardu, dur et constant ?
8. L’enjeu de la ténacité – Etes-vous prêts à rester collé à votre rêve ? A combattre pour votre rêve ?
9. Le défi d’accomplissement – Sentez-vous plutôt du plaisir et de la satisfaction à travailler vers la réalisation de votre mon rêve ? Sentez-vous que vous faites quelque chose que vous aimez et non par exemple de la frustration ?
10. L’importance du rêve pour vous – Votre rêve est-il utile aux autres ? Avez-vous le sentiment que vous voulez faire quelque chose de grand pour vous ? Pour les autres ? Mettez vos rêves à l’épreuve
For the last few years the African political landscape has been dominated by high profile changes of leaders and governments. In Angola (2017), Ethiopia (2018), South Africa (2018), Sudan (2019) and Zimbabwe (2018), leadership change promised to bring about not only a new man at the top, but also a new political and economic direction.
But do changes of leaders and governments generate more democratic and responsive governments? The Bertelsmann Transformation Index Africa Report 2020 (BTI), A Changing of the Guards or A Change of Systems?, suggests that we should be cautious about the prospects for rapid political improvements.
Reviewing developments in 44 countries from 2017 to the start of 2019, the report finds that leadership change results in an initial wave of optimism. But ongoing political challenges and constraints mean that it is often a case of “the more things change the more they stay the same”.
Political change occurs gradually in the vast majority of African countries.
More continuity than change
From 2015 to 2019, the general pattern has been for the continent’s more authoritarian states – such as Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea and Rwanda – to make little progress towards democracy. In some cases countries became incrementally more repressive.
At the same time, many of the continent’s more democratic states – including Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, Senegal and South Africa – have remained “consolidating” or “defective” democracies. Very few of these dropped out of these categories to become “authoritarian” regimes.
A number of countries have seen more significant changes. But in most cases this did not fundamentally change the character of the political system. For example, Cameroon, Chad, Kenya and Tanzania moved further away from lasting political and economic transformation. Meanwhile Angola, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe initially made progress towards it, but these gains were limited – and only lasted for a short period in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.
As this brief summary suggests, at a continental level the trajectories of different states have by and large cancelled each other out. Positive trends in some cases were wiped out by negative trends in others.
Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole has thus seen no significant changes to the overall level of democracy, economic management and governance. For example, the index shows that between 2018 and 2020, the overall level of democracy declined by just 0.09, a small shift on a 1-10 scale. This suggests continuity not change.
Leadership changes often disappoint
In almost all cases, positive trends were recorded in countries where leadership change generated hope for political renewal and economic reform. This includes Angola, after President José Eduardo dos Santos stepped down in 2017, and Ethiopia, following the rise to power of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. It also includes Zimbabwe, where the transfer of power from Robert Mugabe to Emmerson Mnangagwa was accompanied by promises that the Zanu-PF government would show greater respect for democratic norms and values in future.
Sierra Leone also recorded a significant improvement in performance following the victory of opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio in the presidential election of 2018. Nigeria has continued to make modest but significant gains in economic management since Muhammadu Buhari replaced Goodluck Jonathan as president in 2015.
The significance of leadership change in all of these processes is an important reminder of the extent to which power has been personalised. But it is important to note that events since the end of the period under review in 2019 have cast doubt on the significance of these transitions.
Most notably, continued and in some cases increasing human rights abuses in countries such as Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe suggest that we have seen “a changing of the guards” but not a change of political systems.
Nowhere is this more true than Zimbabwe, where the last few weeks have witnessed a brutal government crackdown. Not only have journalists been arrested on flimsy charges, but the rule of law has been manipulated to keep them in jail. Following this sustained attack on democracy, it is now clear that the Mnangagwa government is no more committed to human rights and civil liberties than its predecessor was.
There is no one ‘Africa’
So what does the future hold? I often get asked what direction Africa is heading in. My answer is always the same: where democracy is concerned, there is no one “Africa”. The Bertelsmann Transformation Index report shows how true this is.
In addition to the well-known differences between leading lights like Botswana and entrenched laggards like Rwanda, there is also a profound regional variation that is less well recognised and understood.
From relatively similar starting points in the early 1990s, there has been a sharp divergence between West and Southern Africa – which have remained comparatively more open and democratic – and Central and Eastern Africa, which remained more closed and authoritarian. There is also some evidence that the average quality of democracy continued to decline in Eastern and Central Africa in the past few years. Because it continues to increase in West Africa, we have seen greater divergence between the two sets of regions.
Figure 1. Average Democracy scores for African regions, BTI 2006-2020*
These variations reflect the historical process through which governments came to power, the kinds of states over which they govern, and the disposition and influence of regional organisations. In particular, East Africa features a number of countries ruled by former rebel armies (Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda). Here political control is underpinned by coercion and a longstanding suspicion of opposition.
This is also a challenge in some Central African states. Here the added complication of long-running conflicts and political instability (Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo) has undermined government performance in many ways.
A number of former military leaders have also governed West African states, including Ghana, Nigeria and Togo. But the proportion has been lower and some countries, such as Senegal, have a long tradition of plural politics and civilian leadership. In a similar vein, Southern Africa features a number of liberation movements. But in a number of cases these developed out of broad-based movements that valued political participation and civil liberties. Partly as a result, former military or rebel leaders have had a less damaging impact on the prospects for democracy in Southern and West Africa.
It is important not to exaggerate these regional differences. There is great variation within them as well as between them. But, this caveat notwithstanding, we should not expect to see any convergence around a common African democratic experience in the next few years. If anything, the gap between the continent’s most democratic and authoritarian regions is likely to become even wider.
When it comes to politics, 2016 has been a very strange year to say the least. Things that aren’t “supposed to happen” – well, they just keep happening.
Pauline Hanson, written off as a serial electoral pest whose best days lay back in the late 1990s, has returned to Australian politics with a vengeance, roaring into the Senate with three other One Nation senators by her side.
What has been the reaction to such strange events? Shock. Gasps. Grief. Shaking of heads. And, perhaps worst of all, the “tsk-tsk-tsking” at “the people” who are supposed to know better than to fall for such populist tricks.
In all of these situations where “the people” were supposed to “know better”, media pundits, mainstream parties, pollsters and experts of various stripes have been stunned by outcomes that seemed inconceivable.
My contention is that these are not blips on the radar, not weird one-offs. These events are happening across the globe, where “the people” are spitting in the face of “the elite” and rejecting what is being offered to them.
Populism – a political style that features 1) an appeal to “the people” versus “the elite”; 2) the use of “bad manners” that are allegedly “unbecoming” for politicians; and 3) the evocation of crisis, breakdown or threat – isn’t going anywhere. It is here to stay. The sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we can do something about it.
What explains the rise of populism?
First, “the elite” is on the nose in many parts of the world. Mainstream parties are increasingly seen as incapable of channelling popular interests, governments are viewed as being in thrall to global finance, and experts are increasingly distrusted and questioned. In many cases, this cynicism is justified.
Populists posit themselves as representing a break from the status quo. They claim to be able to return power to “the people”. This message has great resonance at this particular historical juncture, where faith in institutions has been badly shaken.
Second, the shifting media landscape favours populists. In a time of communicative abundance, populists deliver a simple, often headline-grabbing message that plays to mass media’s desire for polarisation, dramatisation and emotionalisation.
Also, many populists have been at the forefront of using social media to communicate “directly” with their followers. The examples of Italy’s Five Star Movement, the US Tea Party and Hungary’s Jobbik are instructive here. This type of engagement is something on which mainstream parties have tended to be woefully behind the times.
Third, populists have become more savvy and increased their appeal in the past decade. In fields of candidates who often seem to be cut from a very similar cloth, populists stand out by offering a performance that seems more authentic, more appealing and often downright more entertaining than other politicians.
This is something that often gets skirted past in the panic over Trump: much of his appeal stems from the fact that he is entertaining and often quite funny, no doubt a byproduct of years on reality television and media training.
Although being entertaining and amusing may seem trivial when we talk about politics, these things matter. Populists understand that contemporary politics is not just a matter of putting forward policies for voters to deliberate rationally upon as some kind of Homo politicus, but rather of appealing to people with a full performative “package” that is attractive, emotionally resonant and relevant.
Populist actors use this sense of crisis, breakdown or threat to pit “the people” against “the elite” and associated enemies, to radically simplify the terms and terrain of political debate, and to advocate (their) strong leadership and quick political action to solve the crisis.
In an era where it seems that we pinball from crisis to crisis – the global financial crisis, the Eurozone crisis, the refugee crisis and an alleged widespread “crisis of democracy” among others – this tactic has proven very effective.
Finally, populists are often good at exposing the deficiencies of contemporary democratic systems. Populism in Latin America and Asia has in many cases been an understandable reaction to corrupt, hollowed-out and exclusionary “democratic” systems. In Europe, many populist actors’ opposition to the EU or the demands of the European troika has brought to light the “democratic deficit” at the heart of elite projects.
Similarly, populists have often posited themselves as the only true voice standing up to the economic and social forces of globalisation, which many mainstreams parties by and large support. This means the populists can effectively appeal to those at the pointy end of such processes.
So, why the shock?
If we take these factors together, it is little surprise that populism is on the rise across the globe. People have very valid reasons for following and voting for populist actors and are doing so in increasing numbers.
As such, let’s drop the surprise. Instead of being dumbfounded every time a populist does well: when Donald Trump is the GOP nominee, when Rodrigo Duterte is elected president of the Philippines, when Pauline Hanson is elected to the Senate, when Nigel Farage’s UKIP dreams become reality, when Austria comes close to electing a far-right president – a list from only the past couple of months – we need to face reality.
These are not mistakes, not outliers, not weird anomalies. It’s time to drop the “tut-tutting”, the shaking of heads in disbelief and the disapproval of those who vote for such characters. At its worst, this smacks of dangerous anti-democratic elitism.
Such actions are merely self-serving and ultimately paralysing. The first step in combating populism is acknowledging that it is not an aberration, but rather a central part of contemporary democratic politics. Only after we face that fact can we begin do anything about it. When it comes to the global rise of populism, acceptance is the first step to recovery.
Peut-être que les Inspections générales d’Etat de l’Afrique francophone sont à un tournant. En tout cas, la publication des rapports des années 2016, 2017-2018-2019 ont suscité un grand débat au Sénégal. De nombreuses critiques, recommandations, propositions d’ajustement et de redressement sont faites par des citoyens, des groupes de pression, des académiciens. Mais d’où viennent ces inspections générales? Quelle est leur histoire? C’est là un préalable à laquelle cette vidéo essaie a essayé d’apporter une réponse!
This is an edited extract from a presentation to Leon Mann Leadership Forum, co-sponsored by Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, ANU and University of Melbourne.
Not only in Australia but right around the world’s democracies, the quality of political leadership is as low as I can ever remember it – ranging, with only a handful of exceptions, from the underwhelming to the desolate to the appalling.
Just about everywhere one looks, at least one – and often many more than one – of what I would regard as the essential attributes of responsive and effective political leadership have gone missing.
In many ways, this is not surprising. Politics has always been a bloody and dangerous trade, and it has become significantly more so in an age of instant communication, relentless 24/7 news cycles, social media and dramatically reduced personal privacy. And more exposed than anyone else in politics are those who aspire to leadership positions – as Francis Bacon put it four centuries ago,
He doth like the ape, that the higher he clymbes the more he shows his ars.
To both aspire to and acquire political leadership has always required a degree of self-belief that defies normal human inhibition. But what seems to be required nowadays is an almost pathological ability to stay unmoved by what people think and say about you.
Despite the personal risks involved, there never seems to be a shortage of candidates for these positions. So what are the attributes, self-belief apart, we should reasonably look for in choosing between them? Based on my own direct observations of both Australian and foreign leaders over several decades, I would identify the following ten as mattering most.
Serious intellectual ability should go without saying, even if there are an army of electors in the US and elsewhere currently in denial. But while intellectual firepower may be a necessary condition (Ronald Reagan being the only exception I can readily think of), this is by no means a sufficient condition. History has repeatedly demonstrated the truth of the observation attributed to Walter Lippman nearly a century ago that the supreme qualification for high office is not so much intellect as temperament.
Empathy: the ability to connect, to understand where others are coming from (though not necessarily to sympathise with their positions) and to see how they are seeing you, is probably the important temperamental attribute a leader could have. Not least, this is because a lack of empathy is often (going to the next three attributes on my list) what lies behind poor judgment about people and situations, administrative dysfunctionality and poor communication skills.
Sound judgment is obviously indispensable, although making the right call is often much easier with hindsight than in the heat of the moment. It’s a matter of acting, and being seen to act, in a way which weighs the available evidence, listens to competing arguments, knows who is most worth listening to, is measured rather than impulsive, and learns from experience and the mistakes that inevitably will be made. None of this means avoiding all risks – that way lies total inertia – but it does mean calculating those that are taken.
Basic organisational and time management skills are much more important than is usually recognised, given the number of the balls that every leader has to keep in the air simultaneously, the number of advisers and supplicants pressing for access, and the necessity to constantly prioritise and re-prioritise activity.
Leaders who lack those skills, and don’t compensate by accepting the discipline of those around them who do have them, are ones who (as Kevin Rudd found despite his stellar intellect and other attributes) quickly wear out their welcome with colleagues and other stakeholders.
Communication skills, the ability to connect and persuade – in the parliament, in the media, on the election hustings, in internal party forums, with potential financial supporters – are self-evidently critical. Paul Keating has been the supreme Australian exemplar of those skills in recent times, across multiple forums. Others have been stronger in some forums than others – Bob Hawke was surprisingly unpersuasive in Parliament – but no successful leader I can think of anywhere has lacked them entirely.
A clear sense of strategic direction, combined with the ability to craft and communicate a clear narrative of what the government is trying to achieve overall, has not been a universally evident characteristic of successful leaders. Some have got by just bobbing along with the waves, with their grandest aspiration being to make the country feel “relaxed and comfortable”.
But it has certainly characterised the very best of them, perhaps nowhere more obviously than Hawke and Keating, with their very sophisticated narrative – crafted early in the life of their Labor Governments and sustained over 13 years – built around the themes of very dry, productivity and competitiveness-focused economic policy; very warm, moist and highly compensatory social policy; and strongly liberal internationalist (both globalist and patriotic!) foreign policy.
Unimpeachable personal integrity is hard to argue against. It is not necessary for a good political leader to be a paragon of every domestic virtue, as Bob Hawke amply demonstrated, though the times are clearly becoming more demanding in that respect. But being, and being seen to be, personally honest and incorruptible is a universally accepted baseline.
A work ethic, and associated physical stamina, well above the prevailing norm also matters. Some highly effective leaders have spent less time visibly grinding away at their desks than others – with Paul Keating famously a much later starter and often earlier finisher than Bob Hawke, who maintained almost monastic discipline during his years in office. (And Ronald Reagan, again, not being known to trouble his desk much at all.) But it’s hard to identify a successful leader whose capacity or willingness to be fully briefed and informed across the whole range of their responsibilities has been of Trumpian or Johnsonian proportions.
Resilience is an often under-recognised component of political effectiveness at all levels – the ability to recover ground after the defeats, set-backs and outright humiliations which are, except in fairy-tales, part of every politician’s and political leader’s experience. Those who survive for the long haul are those who bounce back.
The final item on my top-ten list is what I would describe simply as “spark” – the capacity, through sheer force of personality, to ignite enthusiasm, and on occasion real excitement, in one’s colleagues and the wider community. Dunstan, Whitlam, Keating, Hawke, Thatcher, Blair, Clinton, Obama all had – at least at their peak – that infectious quality.
It’s not a sufficient requirement for successful leadership overall – that requires ticking a lot of my other boxes as well – but it’s certainly a mark of distinction, separating run of the mill leaders from those whose reputations grow and last.
There are other candidates for this checklist, one of them arguably – particularly after the last Australian federal election – being “likeability”. But while this does obviously matter for electability, I am not sure that it is crucial when it comes to the long-term assessment of leadership success. While I wouldn’t go all the way with Machiavelli – that it is better for a leader to be feared than loved – there is a lot to be said for respect ultimately mattering more than affection.
Of the ten boxes I have described, not many political leaders would tick every one of them all of the time. And I fear that most of are essentially innate – you either have them or you don’t – rather than capable of being readily learned, in preparation for or on the job.
But if many more of our leaders, both at home and abroad, came closer to consistently displaying all those attributes than is the case at the moment, the world would be a lot safer, saner and happier than it presently is.