Ghana’s Love Affair With Narcissistic Leaders

This article discusses the rise of narcissism among Ghanaian leaders and youth, and the need for self-reflection to instill proper values.

In recent times, I have observed with great concern the increase in narcissistic traits among Ghana’s leaders and youth. As those in positions of leadership and influence, we must reflect on how we may be contributing to this worrying trend.

Leaders across various sectors – politics, business, academia, media etc. – hold tremendous power in shaping the values and mindsets of the next generation. However, it seems many have now prioritized self-interest, status and ego over service and integrity. The order of the day seems to be engaging in political mud-slinging, unethical business practices and showboating that sends the message that power and image are what really matter.

We cannot dismiss the modeling influence the leadership class have on young people. When leaders are preoccupied with self-aggrandizement, they end up validating narcissistic behaviors instead of empathy, camaraderie and earnest work. No amount of material possessions or titles can fulfill our youth if their role models are morally bankrupt.

African leaders must take an honest inventory of the example they are setting. Do we practice what we preach or hypocritically do whatever benefits us? Do we listen to others or surround ourselves with sycophants? Are we teaching our youth that wealth and celebrity make one worthy or that true meaning comes from lifting up others?

We cannot blame social media and consumerism alone for this problem. They are merely symptoms of a deeper lack of ethical grounding. Our nation’s value systems are our responsibility to firmly instill through our own lives.

There are still many leaders who are humble, selfless and dedicated to Africa’s ennoblement. We must support them to come to the forefront while taking a hard look in the mirror ourselves. This is the only way forward if we are to course-correct our people’s moral compass. The time for bold introspection and action is now.