December 12, 2013   by

There many Chama leaders trying to manage a Chama that has lost respect for them; and many don’t even realize that they’ve lost control of their Chama. Are you faced with any of these issues?

  • Chama members are not paying their monthly contributions on time. Are your members dragging into the Chama meetings because of a lax atmosphere; or because they simply have no respect for you and your ability to control them?
  • Your interactions with Chama members during meetings are usually monologues. Are members listening to you intently and respectfully and giving their opinion freely or are they simply waiting for you to shut up so the meeting can come to an end?

It’s easy for Chama leaders to ignore the above symptoms of disrespect. In fact, it is far easier and a lot more comfortable to ignore them than to acknowledge them. But if you’re in a position where you have a Chama that does not respect you, you need to do something about it fast. A Chama leader and the Chama they founded cannot last long once they have lost the respect of their members.

Once the Chama’s respect has been lost, is it possible to regain it? In many cases once lost, respect is impossible to regain and the only solution is dissolve the Chama. But that isn’t the only solution. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve lost your Chama’s respect; apply the steps here and you will, given time, repair the damage and once again have the Chama’s respect.


Recognize the loss of respect and commit yourself to aggressively addressing and
correcting the issue.


Confess to each member of the Chama either in a group meeting or during individual meetings with Chama members that you have lost your commitment and failed the Chama and have recommitted yourself to serving the Chama without reservation.

Establish new rules and stick to them

Set out a new set of rules that govern both the Chama members’ and the leader’s actions along with the consequences for breaking those rules. Discipline is not only needed, it must be demonstrated. Also, it is necessary that the Chama know what is expected from them and from the Chama leader and that both have objective rules and guidelines that all parties are aware of and can measure one another by.

Encourage discussion

It is important that an open dialogue between the Chama leader and the Chama members be created and it is the leader’s obligation to set the tone and get things moving. If the leader can’t begin a real conversation with the team, no amount of confession and fair rules will do any good.

Treat Chama members with respect

Very often the Chama begins losing respect for their leader not simply because they view the leader as weak, but because they feel that she is not treating them with respect. A leader cannot expect respect from the Chama if they are not showing the Chama members respect. Respect, more than any other aspect of relationships, is a two-way street. Part of earning respect is showing respect and the leader must begin the process by making sure the Chama members know they are respected.

Keep in mind that this process is not an overnight fix. In fact, regaining respect takes a lot of time.

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