An advise for His Excellency, Governor Zulum, by Abubakar Mohammed Kareto


Dear Professor Babagna Umara Zulum,

How to bring out the best in your executive council and achieve maximum results in rebuilding Borno 

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States of America.

As a state governor, you are the automatic leader of the state executive council (SEC) and your most important task as a leader is to inspire all the SEC members to strive to be better than they ever imagined they could be.

Your Excellency sir, very few things motivate team members more than the knowledge that they have the backing of their superiors, and I am very sure that you will back everyone with positive ideas. When a team member is not sure where he stands with his leader, the probability of making mistakes is very high.

Therefore, the first thing you should do as a leader is to instil, implant and inspire confidence in all the SEC members. As a leader, there is need to let the team member know that you can walk up to him to discuss issues bothering him whether they are official or personal at any given time.

Creating this kind of atmosphere will thaw every ice and diffuse every tension building up in the mind of the team member. With that, he will be able to settle down and tackle the challenge with all his might.

To help team members as a leader to achieve desired goals, Sulaiman Olanrewaju listed the following keys to unlock the potentials of all team members in any organisation.

Draw up an improvement plan

To take the individual from the level he is to the appropriate level will require setting a new vision for him. In the One-Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard suggests that a manager must sit down with his subordinate to set goals that they both must agree on. According to him, this goal setting enables the staff member to know what is expected of him right from the outset. This provides immediate feedback to both the staff member and the supervisor. So, both the leader and the member must have an understanding of what the tasks and the terms are so as to be able to measure compliance.

Motivate him to achieve set target 

Drawing up an improvement plan for the team member is not enough; the leader has to take it to a higher level by providing the required motivation to achieve the objective. Many people don’t put in their best because they can’t find a reason to do so. Part of the responsibility of the leader is to provide the reason. If the individual believes that the reason to achieve the set target is good enough, he will strive hard to achieve the set target.

Coach him

Every great leader is a coach. Coaches are great assets. No matter how skilled or knowledgeable an individual is, he still requires a coach. That is why boxers, who are world champions; tennis players, who are on top of their games and footballers who have global acclaim go about with their coaches. As good as these stars are they cannot coach themselves. A coach helps an individual to correct his flaws so that he can get maximum benefit from his strength. So, the leader has to play the role of a coach by helping the team member correct his flaws and optimize his strength.

Set higher goals

After attaining the earlier set goals, set higher ones. The leader must ensure that the individual does not become complacent after accomplishing the first set of goals; the way to do this is to set new goals. Let him realize that the journey to improvement is an unending one. So, he has to keep setting new goals so that he can keep mounting higher.

Train him to be independent 

One sign of maturity is the ability to take initiative. So, the leader must encourage the individual to progress from the point that has been reached by taking initiative on his own without waiting for prompting from the leader before doing what is required or even exceeding expectation.

Great leaders do not raise dependents; they train people to be independent so that they can also raise others. So, the leader must encourage the team member to be strong on taking initiative so that he won’t have to keep leaning on the leader.

Conclusively, if in spite of all that the leader has done to help the subpar performer he fails to change, then the only option left is to let go of him. Under performance is infectious, if it is allowed in a system, it festers and before long it becomes a company (nation/state)-wide disease. It is better to let go of a few people than to destroy the career of everyone and subject an organization (nation/state) to jeopardy.

Abubakar Mohammed Kareto is Public Affairs Analyst.


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