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Dr. Richard Konteh: Leading Even When Not in Charge

One political party member once lamented that, “everything would be different if I am the leader, and then I’d have ‘the say.’” Nearly every great leader will laugh out loud when they read that statement; they know that no matter the role, it is the rarest of situations in which one person truly has the say.

Dr. Richard Konteh is running for the APC Party Presidential Candidate 2023
Dr. Richard Konteh is running for the APC Party Presidential Candidate 2023

Too often people equate leadership to position; the assumption is that the person with the most prestigious title is the leader. In reality, leaders are found at every level, in every function, and across every aspect of an organization.

Aside from the handful of individuals with the accountability and autonomy that comes with running an organization, or running the party secretariat, the rest of us are not in charge. Yet circumstances require—especially current ones within the APC Party and in Sierra Leone—that all of us provide leadership for our people at an unprecedented level. But so many people question, “How can I be expected to lead when I’m not in charge?”

“Great leaders leverage influence and relationships over title and position...Influence always outpaces authority.” - Clay Scroggins

Leaders have two actions—they speak and they listen. Leaders listen for possibilities that are beyond business-as-usual and opportunities that seem unlikely or impractical to the common ear. Additionally, leaders speak in a way that changes the trajectory—said differently, in a way that alters the drift of business-as-usual. Leaders stand for the unlikely.

Leadership starts with taking a stand for something beyond the drift. Leaders speak up when things aren’t working. Leaders call out what others are afraid to mention. Leaders make happen what is not going to happen. Leaders do not worry about being in charge; they are committed to making the difference that makes a difference.

Today, the All People’s Congress (APC) Party is facing serious challenges both internally by our structures that need urgent reforms, and externally by an aggressive governing party in power who have branded the APC party membership as 'terrorists,' and allowed for the arrests of political opponents under trumped up charges.

At a time when all the big names have either deserted the party, retreated to the trenches, or are playing it safe, Dr. Richard Konteh has personally taken on the burdens of the party on his shoulders. He is the voice dedicated to defend and articulate the views of the party at this difficult time. He stood and challenged the National Electoral Commission during the Tonko-Limba Councillors bye-election. He is leading the party's position in challenging the credibility of the 2020 mid-term population and housing census in Sierra Leone declared by president Bio. He is also leading the party's position in challenging the credibility of the White Paper on the Biobele Commission of Inquiry.

“Leaders don’t sit back and point fingers. Leaders lead with the authority of leadership . . . or without it. The authority is largely irrelevant—if you are a leader, you will lead when you are needed.” - Clay Scroggins

What are the attributes that make Dr. Richard Konteh able to inspire others and multiply their impact?

He is a seer — Dr. Richard Konteh lives in the future, he possesses a compelling vision of “what could be” for both the APC Party and for Sierra Leone.

He is a contrarian — Dr. Richard Konteh is free of the shackles of conventional wisdom and he is eager to help others achieve freedom. It’s exciting to be around this gentleman. He is a free-spirited thinker who will liberate the APC and Sierra Leone from the status quo and open our minds to new possibilities.

He is an architect — Dr. Richard Konteh is adept at building systems that elicit contribution and facilitate collaboration. He leverages social technologies in ways that amplify dissident voices, coalesce communities of passion and unleash the forces of change.

He is a mentor — rather than hoarding power, Dr. Richard Konteh gives it away. He believes the primary job of a leader is to create more leaders. To this end, he coaches, he tutor, he challenges and encourages.

He is a connector — with a gift for spotting the “combinational chemistry” between ideas and individuals. Dr. Richard Konteh help others achieve their dreams by connecting them with sponsors, like-minded peers, and complementary resources.

He is a bushwhacker — Dr. Richard Konteh clears the trail for new ideas and initiatives by chopping away at the undergrowth of bureaucracy. He is more committed to doing the right thing than to doing things right.

He is a guardian — Dr. Richard Konteh is a vigilant defender of core values and an enemy of expediency. He’s unflinching commitment to a higher purpose inspires others and encourages them to stand tall for their beliefs.

He is a citizen — Dr. Richard Konteh is a true activist, he’s courage to challenge the status quo comes from his abiding commitment to doing as much good as possible for as many people as possible. He is other-centered, not self-centered.

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