To lead a change, there are usually Principles and values, but this does not happen in Libya these days due to the absence of leadership in the current government. It is customary in Libya and in third world countries where there is no democracy, for everyone to assume that when he or she holds any ministerial position, he/she will bring with them their family, family friends, people from his/her tribe and very close people to his friends.
This is without taking into account the competence and experience of the person chosen to carry out responsibilities and decision-making burden of that position. For example, lack of experience, you can find this on the biography of some of the current government ministers, including Dr. Abdul Rahim Elkeeb himself.
Leading change has principles and foundations as John Kotter, prize winning author of the Faculty of Business Administration at Harvard University, summarised into 8 points in his book “Leading Change” as follows:
1. Establishing a Sense of Urgency (Examine market and competitive realities, and identify and discuss crises, potential crises, or major opportunities)
2. Creating the Guiding Coalition (Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort, and encourage the group to work as a team)
3. Developing a Change Vision (Create a vision to help direct the change effort, and develop strategies for achieving that vision)
4. Communicating the Vision for Buy-in (Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies, and teach new behaviours by the example of the Guiding Coalition)
5. Empowering Broad-based Action (Remove obstacles to change, change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision, and encourage risk-taking and non-traditional ideas, activities, and actions)
6. Generating Short-term Wins (Plan for visible performance improvements, create those improvements, recognise and reward employees involved in the improvements)
7. Never Letting Up (Use increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit the vision, also hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision, and finally reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents)
8. Incorporating Changes into the Culture (Articulate the connections between the new behaviours and organizational success, and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession)
Change is a process of transformation of reality, and its success relies on choosing the right team.
Leadership is the ability to influence others and direct behaviour to achieve common goals. It is therefore a responsibility towards the group to reach the set objectives which are planned by the leader. It is also a process aimed at influencing the behaviour of individuals and coordinating their efforts to achieve certain goals.
Leader: A person who uses his influence and power to affect the behaviour and attitudes of individuals around him to accomplish the specific objectives agreed upon with his team.
This is not found in the current Libyan government because the selection was random. Although random sometimes comes with good results, this was not the case when choosing this present head of government in Libya.
When Mr Elkeeb chose the members of his cabinet, he did not hold meetings with his prospective ministers and he totally depended on word of mouth, recommendation by someone close to him or relying on curriculum vitae of these individuals which in some cases had translation problems. The biography of some ministers can be found on this website, https://www.pm.gov.ly.
Some of the ministers are scandalously unqualified for the job but some of them have very good CVs but no experience in holding higher positions; nevertheless they are doing very well.
It is true that most of them have experience, but a group of them lack any leadership or managerial skills nor have the charisma to be ministers. The latter are those who are failing badly.
There is a difference between management and leadership; both are complementary to each other provided there is the presence of an effective team.
A leader also needs to be an administrator to achieve his vision and develop his strategy. He will draw up a plan of action with his team for short and long term objectives with details of the implementation of the plan.
There is a big difference between leadership and management. Talking about leadership is as old as history, while talking about administration only began in the last decades of the nineteenth century.
Leadership is a branch of the science of management whilst administration focuses on five key processes: planning, organization, direction, supervision and control.
Leadership focuses on three head of operations are:
i- Determine the direction and vision.
ii- Mobilize the forces under this vision.
iii- Motivation and building of momentum
That person will be responsible to lead his team and within the requirements of leadership should be:
a- Effective: has the ability to change others or find what convinces them.
b- Influential: has the ability to give orders to implement his strategy and not to be self-centred.
c- With legal authority: the right given to the commander to act according to laws and regulations
Leaders cannot be appointed but only can be created through training and climbing up the ladder over many years to become a leader. To create a leader will need a lot of effort, training and money. To lead on a change, you need a leader who can lead and make courageous decisions with his team.
There are many examples. The McKenzie Institute International (http://www.mckenziemdt.org/), is the finest company in the training and making of leaders, especially in the areas of development and training.
No one person can lead a change, it needs a team that is efficient, with expertise and political direction that the change successful. This needs a politically minded leader with significant administrative experience.
Unfortunately Dr Abdurrahim Elkeeb does not have all these qualities and he has lost it in the last few days by starting to blame the NTC for his leadership failure.
The 17th Feb. revolution has lost its momentum inside and outside Libya and we have almost been forgotten by the world. This is due to poor performance of the leadership in both NTC and the government.
The NTC is doing its best to reach out to the world and Mr Abduljeleel is meeting many world leaders who seem to believe in him as many Libyans do.
The world, however, seems not to have confidence in the Prime Minister as he does not possess the above-described qualities of leadership. For this reason and many others, Libyans fear that the 17th Feb revolution has lost its momentum because of this. The enthusiasm from the public to rally behind the leaders of 17th Feb has started to decline.
But the Libyan people have never lost faith in the 17 February Revolution despite the failures of the new leaders have started pointing fingers to each other only to come public when it reached the highest levels between the NTC and the government.
When the leader starts blaming others for mistakes affecting national security and stability, this means that he has lost control and should accept responsibility.
If the NTC blames Dr Elkeeb for all that is happening in Libya today, they should also blame themselves as they were advised before appointing him of his “poor leadership qualities”.
The major change which happened in Libya was the removal of Gaddafi and not all of his followers but the real change will take years to flourish in Libya. Because of that, there should be creative programmes for leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and strategists with political minds.
Libya will be well on the path of progress somewhere in 5-10 years’ time and in less than 20 years I am sure it will be in a much better shape. All of this needs security, implementation of the rule of law and to learn from others.
There is no way to create good quality leaders in 1-2 weeks as has been going on in Libya now by a religious cleric from Kuwait (Tareq Suwaidan). Always learn to walk before you run!
Leading change was led by the National Transitional council and the Executive Office. It was a difficult stage, but it gained the support of the Libyan people and the real revolutionaries of Libya.
Everyone helped and accelerated the removal of the tyrant until he was killed in Sirt on 20/10/2011. But this change, which was acceptable to the Libyan people and the world, did not continue on the same steps as was started by the leading executive office who were forced to resign collectively as was agreed with NTC regulations.
This opened the way for the current head of government to bring his friends and his family, and friends of friends to the government without taking into account the efficiency and conditions of the transition.
We did not see him in Benghazi until end of June 2011, but after the Doha conference when he delivered a speech on behalf of the people of Tripoli, as the original speaker was forced to withdraw as he was not a very religious man nor is his family. This was all orchestrated by a religious fanatic group which we will write more about in another article.
After the liberation of Libya, he became very close to Mr Abdul-Jalil and a glowing picture was painted about him to Mr Abdul-Jalil by a group affiliated to the Islamic brotherhood. This is how he became the front runner for the Prime minister’s office in the transitional government after the liberation.
I hope someone can write about those days of 23-25/11/2011. Many important events took place then and I will share some of them with you next time. It was a wrong choice and now it is time to correct the mistakes.
Some ministers should be exempted from their ministerial positions, including the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Health, Justice, Finance, Defence, Interior, Youth, Sports and Culture and Prime Minister himself.
It is true that time is short to reshuffle the ministries but it is very important to do so; this will regain the momentum of the Libyan people towards the 17th Feb revolution and the NTC leadership. This also will regain the confidence of the world in Libyan government and NTC.
There are a few steps which will help in making the changes successful. These can be measured in time and all Ministers are held accountable:
1. Some of the ministers should be exempted from their ministerial posts and the Prime Minister is one of them. This is due to the poor performance, lack of planning, poor communication with the public and the outside world and the continued deterioration of security and stability of Libya.
2. The Transitional National Council should ask every minister to draw up a plan of action to overcome the most common problems according to priorities; he/she should correct them during the transitional phase.
3. All ministries should be held accountable after 3-6 months and all those who are failing should be replaced by the Prime Minister and not by NTC
4. The replacement ministers should be chosen according to their political, leadership and administration experience and interviewing them is a must
5. Security is the priority for the Prime minister as well as looking after the real freedom fighters and negotiations should start with them ASAP about their future role in Libya.
6. The Prime Minister and his cabinet should take courageous decisions aimed at strengthening security and stability in Libya. The NTC should not interfere and support these decisions.
7. Election must be held in time for the national assembly with the help of the United Nations.
8. Foreign policy should be one of the priorities especially with neighbouring countries.
There is still great opportunity and not much time has been wasted. The momentum of the 17th Feb revolution is still buzzing in the hearts and minds of the Libyan people if the right prime minister is found to be leading on this transitional period.
Everyone is talking about it and the majority of Libyans have never experienced anything like this. I am sure that if they see Libya heading in the right direction, they will stand behind the government and support them.
It is very easy to mobilise the public against any danger which may hinder the success of the government, provided there is good leadership at the highest level.
Libya will remain free and the Libyan people will not allow anyone – not even the pseudo-freedom fighters – to destabilize the security, integrity and stability of their country.
Libya is at a very critical stage in its post-revolution era and it is essential that the right leadership takes control and puts into effect the changes that have already been started by the earlier Executive Office of NTC.
We don’t want Libya to end up like another rogue state governed chaotically and without strategic forward planning.
The writer is former Minister of Health in the Executive Office of the National Transitional Council until November 2011