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4 Leadership lessons scribe has taught me

4 Leadership lessons scribe has taught me

For the last seven years, I have led my team, Scribe Productions, to consistently stage plays. Though it has been one strenuous journey, I must admit it has been a world of fun and lessons. The adventure has added a lot to my life and if I could live life all over again, I still would have chosen a career such as this.

Beginning in 2015 with a play staged at Efua Sutherland Drama Studio on the University of Ghana campus, we currently have seven plays to our credit. Growing with our university audience, we can now boast of an audience profile that cuts across various sections of society. Our eighth play, ONCE

UPON A RIDDLE, stages on December 10, 2022, at the National Theatre.
Every production of ours brings together a little over one hundred creatives; from cast to light crew, sound managers, band and makeup and special effects artists, among others. Every event is preceded by weeks of thorough rehearsals. With varied experiences and perspectives, this puts to test the leadership skill of anyone in charge of a team.

These few years have endowed me with the greatest lessons and life experiences. A few leadership lessons I have learnt include:


• As a leader, always do before you say!
If you want to preach forgiveness to your team, you must be the first to practise it. If you want your team members to abide by time, show up at rehearsals first. If you want your team members to respect each other, first show them respect.

People learn easier by what they see than by what they hear. When leaders chart a certain aspirational path, it is easier to carry their followers along. What changes the hearts of people is not what they are told. It is what they see happening around them.
If we want to start a ‘buy-made-in-Ghana’ campaign, it is prudent that our leaders lead the way.

Wherever we want this nation to be must first be championed by those who lead us.
If a nation wants to grow, it begins with what the leaders choose to do. The only way to practise patriotism is to be an embodiment of it. When leaders live lives contrary to what they preach, they throw their followers into a state of confusion. A nation will always be a reflection of what the leaders do… and not what they say they will do.

• Cut down waste to the barest minimum!
I learnt very early in my career how important cutting down waste, especially at rehearsals, is. Every second matters and there is no time to waste. At the end of the day, we should be able to account for how every hour was spent. Any hour that cannot be accounted for has obviously been wasted.

Time, like money, is a resource. And as scanty as every resource is, despite its supposed abundance, must be used with care. In a world of scanty resources, cutting down waste is a need, not a want.
Progress in any facet of our lives begins with cutting down any possible waste. Every dime or minute spent each day should be able to yield us returns. We are only wasting our lives away if our lives are full of waste.

• You don’t know it all!
Every leader who wants to make a mark must learn how to leverage the strengths of his/her team members. The strength of a leader, thus, lies in the strength of their team.
I have come to admit that my knowledge of any matter is scanty. To get the best on any matter, I try to involve my team all through the creative process, acknowledging the importance of each member’s suggestion.

When we pretend as though we know everything, we leave every table we sit at with nothing. No one covers the blind spots of a leader who assumes to know it all. It is these blind spots that soon become the crack our opponents would sneak through.

Being at the forefront of a battle does not make one the most knowledgeable. Leadership is acknowledging that your weakness may be another’s strength and your strength, on the other hand, another’s weakness. Leadership, thus, is a place of learning. Feedback is the only way to grow.

• Always brace yourself for the worst!
A month to premiere our play, Emergency Wedding, in 2020, the event was cancelled because of COVID-19. Twice this show was cancelled until it finally happened on the third trial in 2021.

This wasn’t the first time a show has had challenges. In 2016, a venue cancelled our show and we quickly had to reschedule it to a new venue just a few days before the event. Just last September, the British Council cancelled our launch at their venue because the Queen passed a few days before the event. We had to quickly find a new venue… and the launch happened successfully.

There are always a thousand and one reasons to give up on something. Leadership comes with a lot of unforeseen circumstances and one has to always make sure nothing stops the show. The show must happen at all costs!

Did cancelling our shows come with some inconveniences? Yes! A lot of them. We lost a lot of money. However, nothing stopped the shows at the end of the day. Life will hit us with all sorts of bad news. No matter what, we must have a purpose in our hearts that nothing will ever be enough to stop us from moving an inch further towards our goals.
See you at #OnceUponARiddle this December at the National Theatre.

The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, an Accra-based writing company ( Order copies of his animation book, Animuonyam The Bully Stopper, via 0243752793. His next play, Once Upon A Riddle, shows on December 10 at the National Theatre.

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