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Mindset Change! “...if we have not made a mistake, means, we might not be doing anything. If we make the same mistake twice, then we may not be learning from our mistakes.” Hon. Sydney Aleacock. This encouragement of introspection came to members of the 17th National Toshaos Council conference. This encouragement follows the thought “if want different results [from our action], then we cannot be doing the same things we did in the past that yielded unfavourable results.” Einstein. Wanting, therefore to do things differently requires a mindset change and a conscious desire to do so. When we consistently think along a certain path, it influences how we act / work. And when we act along a certain path in a systematic way this way of working becomes our natural way of working. The week’s conversation by the more than 200 Toshaos unearthed lots of strengths and inherent qualities as leaders. So when Madam Garrido-Lowe stimulated a conversation on what do you see in your leaders, the value of leaders was remarkable. Hereunder is a list of qualities of a good leader / leaders as determined by members of the conference. Contributions came from ALL, executive members and other members, including the women Toshaos. They were commended for their contribution.


  1. Honesty

  2. Good communication skills

  3. Have vision

  4. Good Listener

  5. Sober Minded person

  6. Have Principles

  7. Be proactive

  8. Be Good Example

  9. Wise Decision

  10. Reliable

  11. Responsible

  12. Fair

  13. Empathetic and sympathetic

  14. Accountable

  15. Lead by example

  16. Vision, Mission and goal

  17. Humility

  18. Self Motivated

  19. Admits Making Mistakes

  20. Have Desire to lead

  21. Good Judgement

  22. Be literate

  23. Respected

  24. Law abiding

  25. Determination

  26. Be transparent

  27. Good governance

  28. Be able to withstand criticism (thick skinned)

  29. Be just

  30. Be willing to take advice

  31. Slow to anger

  32. Patience

  33. Self confidence

  34. Decision for all, not themselves

  35. Fearless

  36. Have love

  37. Hardworking

  38. God fearing

  39. Organized

  40. Speak his/her first language

Madam Garrido-Lowe could have presented what is meant by being a good leader to the conference but used the opportunity to let them identify what a good leader means for them. Their identifying these characteristics indicate Awareness of what good leadership means to them and that they take ownership of these characteristics and being good leaders themselves. They see these qualities as being important for the success of the NTC and support to the wider local indigenous community. However, there is no superhuman among these Toshaos so not one of them will possess ALL of these characteristics individually. Of course, the descriptors may be overlapping in many instances or the same thing expressed by a different word. It would be nice [an opportunity, really] to continue the conversation on this subject, especially on how can we cultivate these qualities individually, building on those that we already possess, bringing out the latent ones. And how can we include this in a succession plan for future leaders of the National Toshaos Council.

We can place in the competence framework and have measured progress of achieving ‘being a good leader.’

The competence framework is based on the levels of competence as follows:

Level 1: We are aware of this but we do not act;

Level 2: We  React to this; we act on it sometimes;

Level 3: We make a conscious decision of act on this;

Level 4: We systematically act on this or do so continuously;

Level 5: We naturally do this. It is a natural part of how we work.

Doing the competence framework is doing a self-assessment on the issue and it happens like this.


Mindset%20Change.pdfCommunities such as NTC and Village Council have a candid conversation on being a good leader based on an agreed level 5 and identify which of the four levels they are at and then describe that level.  After that they identify which level they would like to go to and describe what that means to them.

The same conversation could be applied for other issues such as:


Issue /practices

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5

Contribution to border security and threats

Zero threats of social and public health concerns such as incest, hiv/aids; drugs; alcoholism; teenage pregnancy etc


The self-assessment leads to developing SMART actions to move between levels of competence with measurable indicators. SMART is S-Specific; M-Measurable; A-Appropriate; R-Realistic; T-Time bound.


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Comment by Jan Somers on September 30, 2017 at 8:16am

Thanks Autry. I specifically like the word "cultivate " instead of develop qualities. Cultivate to me means nourishing, stimulating, appreciating,practicing, ... 

Inspiring ! 

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on September 29, 2017 at 8:46pm

Thanks for sharing Autry and linking to our self assessment framework. I would like to learn from you more on SMART actions. What in your experience can encourage the community to take actions? How can we support them in the process? What is our role?

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