Monday, April 6, 2015


Mr. Warm and Mr. Clever in the GPU 9 Executive picture
I have observed a case of leadership choice closely. I should emphasize that both are top-class professionals. I also had the chance to observe the reputations that they left after the choice was made.

To mask the identity of the persons involved and to make the anecdote meaningful, I use the terms “Warm person” and “Clever person” in the narrative that follows. The terms should be interpreted as a tendency. Both were clever and warm. The only difference was that one was perceived as scoring a sort of 8, 5 and the other, a sort of 5, 8 on the Warmth/Intelligence matrix.

Mr. Clever joined the media as a young trainee after a brilliant academic records; gold medal, first class, distinctions, highly spoken of and all else that goes with highly intelligent people. In the media house he first started practicing journalism; Clever impressed the seniors and rose rapidly. Mr. Clever is well known for standing against injustice, impunity and defend human rights violations thus won the heart of many journalists and human rights defenders locally and internationally.

 Challenges were thrown at him and, after the initial adaptation; he met all the challenges successfully. He had a fertile mind with ideas and he always sought ways to tackle the problem by proposing these ideas to his team. He was not difficult person to get on with but he was not perceives as warm person.

 Some subordinates referred to him as a “cold fish”. He was acknowledged by his peers and subordinates as being very smart and intelligent. In fact his interactions showed him to be smart. In the popular view, Mr. Clever is the favorite candidate to become the next Gambia Press Union (GPU) President after Mr. Warm term was sculled by embezzlement and mismanagement of union’s funds during this term backed by some media heads and lieutenants-done in a chain work.

Mr. Clever showed great respect to his fellow colleagues, cared deeply about people and, as a result, he was really loved by everyone in the Gambian media whom he came into contact with in the noble profession.

 The only thing that really matters in life is your relationship with people which Mr. Clever has an advantage over Mr. Warm.

Mr. Clever and Mr. Warm’s relationship and communication had broken down for many months. Too bad!!!

As the saying goes, smart subordinates may come through as threatening to their boss. Portraying yourself as a smart subordinate, you never seem to be in doubt in whatever course you may take.

It is suffice to say that every great leader was at one time an outstanding subordinate to his or her bosses.

Mr. Warm is older that Mr. Clever age wise. His academic background was very impressive, but not peppered with as many academic accolades and distinctions as his friend’s- Mr. Clever.

During his secondary school days, Mr. Warm had participated in plays and debates, and interacted with fellow students. He too joined the Gambian media and was seen by his superiors as having a way with people. But, when faced with a challenging situation, he would not convene his colleagues and seek their inputs in framing a solution.

Mr. Clever got a bit embroiled in projecting himself in the public domain. Mr. Warm always projected himself in corners. Many people, in a purely anecdotal way, thought that Mr. Clever was a “better leader”. He was more approachable and the people felt comfortable with him.

Assuming that there is any materially to people’s views, the perception may well be because of the differences in their human approaches.

Remind yourself that the union’s really major problems are better solved through human relations working with journalists, human rights activists and defenders in unison not in corners.

When people live and work together, disagreement is inevitable. Disagreements are not bad, and they are actually the lifeblood of our society and our organisations. We would be crippling without diverse views.

Clearly, however, it is unacceptable organizational behavior to express disagreements in a disagreeable way or to wreck the ship of debate by rudeness.

In every organisation, there is a hierarchy. The question of whether you can disagree with your seniors and, if so, how to express your disagreement is influenced by both the norms of the society you belong to and the way the culture of how disagreement is expressed builds up.

Mr. Warm ticks it in your diary of what Mr. Clever says: “Authentic people become authentic through experience; are comfortable with themselves and what they do in life.”

Mr. Clever advice: “If you are an upcoming subordinate, it is not appropriate to suppress your options but you must learn how to express your views and disagreements constructively. It is a very important skill.”  

Mr. Clever says
ü  I love and respect people to make champions out of them. I used the authority of my influence, and not of power, in dealing with people.
ü  To me, the union and my fellow journalists come first and everything I do is driven by this. I have never done, and I will not do, anything which, according to my own light, is not in the interest it might serve.
ü  I always want to be at the giving end, never at the receiving end.
ü  I am definitely self-reliant. I am fiercely free and fearless. I have never hankered after any media house that I have worked with. I have always worked and lived on my own terms. I trust people. I feel humble.
ü   I have no greed and therefore, no fear in defending the interest of Gambian journalists.
ü    Unionism is in the centre part of my heart.

18th April, 2015 Gambia Press Union (GPU) Congress
Venue: Not know

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