Personality’s role in CCM picking John Magufuli

Posted on July 13, 2015 12:01 am

When CCM National Executives Committee identified admirable leaders within the party, namely John Pombe Magufuli, Asha Rose Migiro and Amina Salum Ali, I think the three underestimated their struggle with certain elements of their personality. In truth, the three leaders who were selected among the five out of 38 candidates, had to work hard to manage their personality traits to get where they are today.Yesterday, John Pombe Magufuli named Samia Salum as his running mate.There are countless personality traits that distinguish John Pombe Magufuli from the two female finalists Dr Asha Rose Migiro and Amina Salum from one another, some inherited while others are learned. Recent political research has converged toward several broad dimensions, each comprising a cluster of traits.Unfortunately, the political traits that serve executives well in one leadership position do not always help in another when it comes to nomination like the one CCM conducted in picking John Pombe Magufuli as its party’s flag bearer. When moving up the hierarchy into new roles or environments,John Pombe Magufuli may need to either play up or rein in different facets of their personality.Leaders in politics at all levels are under intense pressure to push harder and to go faster. The higher they go, the greater their influence and the more they are scrutinized,so self-management of personality traits becomes essential to their success.

John Pombe Magufuli who was picked on July 12th 2015 as CCM Tanzania Presidential candidate
John Magufuli who was picked on July 12th 2015 as CCM  Presidential candidate

I want to outline the CCM leadership pitfalls that every National Executives Committee could or should be aware of regarding the personality dimensions.Emotional stability can be a valuable asset for executives, helping them to cope with stress, setbacks and uncertainty.This can help CCM nomination losers like Mizengo Pinda, Edward Lowassa, Lazarus Nyalandu among others cope with the loss of opportunity to be party flag bearer on October 25th 2015 elections.Being composed can communicate professionalism and that was demonstrated by John Pombe Magufuli, but being too composed can peg a politician as emotionally flat, overly confident, or lacking a sense of urgency and that is what I saw with Amina Salum Ali during her 15 minute speech.However, being too fiery or impatient can lead to the opposite result and that is what I believe could have cost Monduli Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister Edward Ngoyai Lowassa the chance to be CCM flag bearer.The simplest method to avoiding overreaction is to verbalize negative emotions to others. Sometimes politician worry that verbalizing emotion will make them appear weak, when in fact it conveys confidence.Extraversion can be advantageous in political leadership, but can have negative effects too.High scores on the extraversion dimension can trigger perceptions that the politician is too domineering or that he or she does not listen well.

Former Presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi(left) and his successor Benjamin Mkapa follow proceedings on 11th July 2015 in Dodoma
Former Presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi(left),his successor Benjamin William Mkapa on 11th July 2015 in Dodoma

Similarly, politician with high energy levels like John Pombe Magufuli,can raise the energy of others and inspire them, but it can also prove wearing for introverts.Political leaders with extraversion tendencies need to be aware that their disposition is likely to create tensions with their introverted colleagues who often find extraverts draining. Conversely, politicians who are highly introverted often need to learn to behave like extraverts if they aspire to positions of political leadership. An open politician shows intellectual curiosity and big picture orientation. Though important in a political leader, these qualities don’t necessarily help the leader connect effectively with others. In political science, there has been theories that being too innovative can frustrate fellow politicians who are looking for clarity and consistency. A political leader like John Magufuli with this orientation may need someone to reel him in periodically. Likewise, politicians who score very high can overwhelm others with the complexity of what they are trying to communicate, resulting in confusion rather than enlightenment. That is what a Kenyan politician called Raila Odinga is known for.These politicians must train themselves to simplify their messages so others can relate to them better with the voting public.

Googling John Magufuli on Monday 13th July 2013 gave this results
Googling John Magufuli on Monday 13th July 2013 gave this results

On the other hand, some political leaders risk coming across as resistant to new ideas or overly cautious, requiring vast amounts of data before they dare try something new in leadership and that has led to many of them failing in development implementation. Political leaders with this tendency should work on being more open and push themselves out of their comfort zone.While most effective politicians within CCM cluster on one end of the spectrum in the previous dimensions I’ve mentioned, there is no such pattern with agreeableness. Traditionally, low scorers typically yield strong results, which is invaluable to business. However, too little agreeableness has lead to ineffectiveness as President Jakaya Kikwete noted in his address to the party members where he urged them to register as voters. Politicians who are tough-minded and direct tend to be unflinching in the face of conflict or when dealing with tough issues and once can mention Nape Nnauye, the publicity secretary and head of CCM ideology. For CCM executives, how they communicate comments or feedback is crucial, being careful to critique the idea and not the person.That will help the party continue its dominance in the forthcoming general elections.

CCM Publicity secretary Nape Nnauye addressing the media in Dodoma on July 11th 2015
CCM Publicity secretary Nape Nnauye addressing the media in Dodoma on July 11th 2015

By doing so can lead to appropriate bonding and trust building by Members of Parliament and subordinates. At the other end of the spectrum, highly considerate National Executives Committee members are likely to promote collaboration and to be attentive to the opinions and wellbeing of others. However, CCM executives who are too considerate may have difficulty delivering negative feedback or making decisions that risk upsetting others because they want to please everyone. These politician must examine what drives their need to be liked by their colleagues and juniors.Drive and persistence are important qualities for CCM leaders, but can prove dysfunctional if they are not properly channeled. One risk for highly conscientious CCM leaders is that their perfectionism can cause them to lose sight of the big picture. Another element of being overly conscientious is the risk of becoming a workaholic, which increases the risk of burnout as CCM Secretary General Abdulrahman Kinana noted in his speech on Saturday night that he covered all regions, districts and more than 1,000 sub locations.

An unhealthy commitment to work is not something that executives like Mr Kinana can change overnight, but one approach is to cut back their working time.By contrast, CCM executives who tend to be more spontaneous and flexible risk making hasty decisions, which can get them into big trouble as they climb the hierarchy and the stakes increase as some young aspiring members of the party have found out.To make more considered decisions, the starting point towards balancing personality traits is learning how to self-manage through increasing one’s self-awareness. Without it, politicians within CCM and opposition in United Republic of Tanzania will find it very difficult to evolve or to find coping strategies. Success in multiple roles or for a sustained period of time is unlikely unless the leader can accept and overcome such blind spots.Yet, self-management in politics does not require undergoing a personality transformation as we witnessed with selection of John Pombe Magufuli. Self-management still allows CCM party members to be themselves, just with more skill. Simply put, to grow as a leader, like John Pombe Magufuli, you must refine your ability to recognize and manage your strongest tendencies while being willing to acknowledge and compensate for your weaknesses.

Edward Lowassa following proceeding in Dodoma on 11th July 2015
Edward Lowassa following the proceeding in Dodoma on 11th July 2015

Contador Harrison