Have you ever been accused of speaking your mind without being polite? Or perhaps your youthful argument disproved one of your suggestions? Have you ever felt like your voice in your family or community wasn’t heard loud enough as a young person? You could also be a victim of infantilization if you can identify with these queries.
Our capacity to develop young, creative leaders who are fully prepared to confront the issues facing our continent is in peril due to the infantilization of African youth. The infantilizing process robs the infantilized of their ability to think clearly, be responsible, or carry out responsibilities. These feelings are also common among women and the elderly. also young Africans.
This toxic heritage can easily connect to our daily lives, as this system of dominance has been fully adopted by our countries’ elites. It maintains the status quo and prevents the emergence of new leaders, especially among the youth.
Here are 5 Leadership-oriented Attitudes to Address Infantilization
- Combat the “just enough” mentality
Colonization required workers/employees to have “just enough” education to serve the colonialists’ exploitation efforts. They were also required to just do what they were told. Nothing less, nothing more. Instead, go the extra mile! Outwork your colleagues and classmates! Leave the “just enough” comfort zone!
- “For each door closed, there’s a window opened”
In order to make the world benefit from your brilliant, young, and innovative minds, you need to be heard. This means doing something that is probably counter-intuitive for you: challenging power dynamics (often based on age). Stop muting yourself during brainstorming sessions at work. Give yourself a voice!
- Express your ambitions
Tackling infantilization also requires expressing your ambitions out loud. As a young woman or young man, you have grown up being told that working hard will be enough to reach your goals. Humility and hard-work are indispensable leadership qualities, but they’re not enough. The more people know about your ambitions, the more help you can get.
- “Stay sharp”
As part of the flexibility generation, stay aware of the developments in your field of expertise and keep yourself up-to-date. You will also be expected (sometimes unfairly) to master the innovations that pop up in your domain. Make yourself indispensable by never stopping to acquire knowledge.
- “Don’t shy away from responsibilities”
Self-censorship is the most powerful dominance tool. Don’t let yourself be poisoned by the lack of confidence instilled by years of infantilization. You are readier than you may think. Embrace responsibilities at all levels: in your family, in your friends’ circles, at school, in your sports team, at work, etc.