This opinion piece appeared in the Fiji Times – Sunday 26 Jan, 2014
Fiji Times – Leadership or Ownership
We talk so often about raising our next generation of leaders. We run workshops and seminars encouraging our young people to take the lead. My question to you though is, what worth is Leadership without Ownership?
What do I mean by this… well, for me it’s like this.
In my job here with the PYC I have met countless numbers of young people, many of which are our aspiring leaders. It is great to see the energy, passion and dedication that these people have. I am genuinely moved by their spirit.
What I do notice though is that time and time young people are not taking ownership of their issues. I attend the conferences, I read the communiques – and there is generally a common theme; ‘We, as young people demand….’ Or ‘We call our governments to…’
For me I think that as young people we need to OWN our issues. To be an effective leader is not just about having the skills to lead, but also to take ownership of the issues that you’re faced with.
I think that if we want our governments to listen, if we want our demands met, we need to take ownership of our issues. Not only do we need to present our issues, but we also need to present OUR solutions. We know young people, we know what our issue are – and I think it is time that we stated to take ownership of the solutions.
For me, when we handball our problems to the government or our leaders we are disempowering ourselves. The minute we hand our issue over and ask for someone else to come up with the solution we are rendering ourselves powerless. If we want our governments to take us seriously we need to give them both our issues and our solutions.
We as young people need to OWN our issues and OWN our solutions.
Instead of merely listing our demands, we should couple this with our solutions. Take our power back. Take ownership.
And by solutions I mean real life solutions. Another strategy to sit on the shelf will not put food on the table, or create jobs for young people. We need to provide our leaders with practical solutions to our own problems.
Now, I am not saying that this isn’t happening – what I am saying is that we need to couple Leadership with Ownership. I know that there are many young people out there at are doing exactly what I am talking about. Many young people are doing fantastic things in their organisations and communities. Let me provide an example to highlight my point; Not-so-long-ago I was chatting to a group of young people about the potential revival of the Pacific Youth Festival. I heard a lot of talk about the need for our government to do this for us. I don’t accept this. For me, we as young people have the ideas, have the passion and have the drive – so why wait for someone else to take ownership of our idea – why don’t we do it for ourselves?
This is what I am talking about. Let’s just get on with it.
Let’s Own our issues and Lead our solutions.