You are here

Leadership in sport and development: B for bold

Copyrights: Pixabay

Leadership in sport and development: B for bold

Ambassador Elizabeth Odera explores the importance of honing strength when confronted with difficulties as an SDP leader.

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."  —Winston Churchill

Amina knocked on the director’s door with resolution, heard him call out and stepped into the room. She blinked in the sudden change from the sunlight corridor, and made a sudden gasp when she noticed that there were other people in the room. She recognised the local chief and district officer amongst them. The project director, Mr. Rishi, smiled at her, and turned to the guests at the table. “As you know, I make it a point to invite one stakeholder to our board meetings to give us a chance to get some feedback on how well our organisation is performing. This time, I have invited Amina, who is captain of one of our football teams.

All eyes turned to Amina, and her hands shook as she pulled out a folded sheet of paper from her back pocket. She realised that she had to step up and be counted. She had to take a stand. It was going to be tough, especially if no one believed her. She cleared her throat, “I want to tell you a true story about the neglect and abuse of our football team.“ What she talked about was heart rending, and when it was over, there was shocked silence in the room.

Then Mr. Rishi turned to Douglas, the head coach. “Would you like to explain why you ignored it when the girls reported all this to you two years ago?

A visibly shaken Douglas, said “I was convinced that it was all a lie, a way to get attention.”

I agree", growled Chief Omumbo. “These girls need to appreciate what is being done for them. All they do is gossip, trying to change the system!”  The room fell silent for a moment, then the Mr. Rishi turned a questioning gesture to the development officer, Rukwaro, who spoke up: “I agree that the girls are expecting more attention, with the increase in funding.”  

What would you like us to change, Amina?” interrupted the district officer gruffly.

Amina hesitated. “We want to choose our own coaches, and set our own rules.

I couldn’t agree more. It’s time we all trusted and supported the girls. We would like to apologise for what you had to go through. As chairman of the board, I would like to apologise for what happened.”

Amina smiled for the first time that day, and turned to the Mr. Rishi, who winked at her and said, “Thank you, Amina, you have helped us make an important decision today!

This story explains a lot about how much we face a sport and development leaders. Every day, there are acts of courage, but also lack of it.

Searching through the story, you will come across many people who are bold. Amina took a great chance, faced her fears, and spoke up for her team. Mr. Rishi showed courage by giving her a chance to talk. He is genuine and authentic. The district officer was strong enough to apologise and promise to trust and support the team in making changes.

Do you display the following acts of boldness?

  • Delivering a report
  • Volunteering as a mentor or youth group leader
  • Stepping away from unhealthy friendships
  • Resisting the temptation to lie
  • Allowing others to be right
  • Admitting mistakes
  • Keeping your word

On the other hand, you come across what does not represent boldness. Douglas was defensive and unwilling to take responsibility. Chief Omumbo is suspicious, and unwilling to change. Rukwaro probably knows what has been happening but does not want to rock the boat.

Ask yourself if at any time you have been involved in the following:

  • Allowing others to make your decisions
  • Being a bully or a passive bystander
  • Gossiping and lying
  • Running away from a mistake
  • Placing too much reliance on the rules
  • Remaining silent in the face of injustice and rationalizing lack of action
  • Choosing sides after seeing which way the wind is blowing
  • Breaking promises

Do you ever allow others to expose the weaknesses in your organisation?

Are you ready to go the extra mile, to protect those you represent? Just remember, to be a leader you must be bold.

Twitter: @lizodera1



Article type



Monday, July 31, 2017 - 09:48

E-Newsletter subscribe