Thu | Dec 14, 2017

STETHS coach shows true leadership

Published:Monday | November 27, 2017 | 11:07 PMPeter Graham
Gladstone Taylor/Photographer St Elizabeth Technical High School head coach, Omar 'Rambo' Wedderburn.


As the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the final of the ISSA-FLOW Super Cup last Saturday, like all supporters of Kingston College, I was elated that the team moved past its mid-week disappointment and lifted the title at stake. In a short time after the game, there was an even more profound impact on me: the post-match comments of the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) coach, Omar Wedderburn.

Obviously disappointed with the result, Mr Wedderburn opted to take full personal responsibility and stated that he would take "a self-reflection and see where I went wrong as a coach". This was most refreshing to hear. No excuses were given and no blame placed elsewhere (frequently used ones for coaches are poor scheduling of games, team did not play to instructions, and lack of adequate preparation and/or resources).

Mr Wedderburn's comments mirrored that of a Level 5 leader, as described by Jim Collins in his book 'Good to Great'. After many years of research to fully understand why some organisations delivered sustained performances and others did not, Collins concluded that in all cases they were led by a Level 5 leader - "a leader that looked out the window to attribute success to factors other than themselves and blame themselves, taking full responsibility when things go poorly," among other distinctive qualities.

Leaders take responsibility. Leaders deliver on promises and know fully well that no matter how good an excuse is or how credible, it is still an excuse. Leaders set bold aspirations and successfully energise those they lead to attain them. Leaders do not lay blame for failure on circumstances.

The number of persons with advanced degrees per capita has increased exponentially over the last decade and a half. Yet we lament the lack of leadership at all levels in both the public and private sectors. We can begin to turn the tide towards the prosperous Jamaica we all desire if leaders and aspiring leaders take responsibility for results.

Leaders at all levels in all spheres must strengthen their resolve to do whatever it takes to make our homes, our communities, our beloved country the absolute best they can be. Leaders must start exactly where Mr. Wedderburn's comments pointed them, a self-reflection and a desire to be better. Too long we have been satisfied with mediocrity and allowed leaders off the accountability hook.