Wednesday, May 23, 2012
By The Post
Wed 23 May 2012, 13:40 CAT
INTEGRITY is the most valuable and respected quality of leadership. And one who aspires to be a good leader must always keep his word. If you keep your word as a leader, you will be respected. And respect is the key determinant of high performance leadership. How much people respect you determines how well they and you perform. It is important for a leader to always act in a manner consistent with his inner most beliefs and convictions.
This is so because whatever one believes with emotion becomes one's reality. There is need for a leader to be absolutely clear about the self and what one stands for.
It must be emphasised that integrity is the foundation upon which all other values are built. And truthfulness is the main element of character.
Confidence in the outside begins by living with integrity on the inside. Your attitude as a leader is an expression of your values, beliefs and expectations.
And Wynter Kabimba's call on Patriotic Front leaders to exhibit honesty and integrity is a good starting point for mobilisation.
With honesty and integrity more will be achieved and less mistakes will be made. Leaders who are not honest can never be reliable. If one is not honest, they can steal and engage in all sorts of corrupt activities.
And if one can steal, they can also kill. If one can kill, then there is no crime they cannot commit. It is therefore important that only those who exhibit honest characteristics and integrity at all times should be given leadership positions in our political parties and indeed in our government.
But the government starts with a political party. And as Wynter has correctly observed, a good government depends on a good political party. And therefore, "the need for honesty and integrity by leaders cannot be overemphasised or compromised" by any political party that wants to move things forward and improve the lot of our people.
Moreover, it is said that when practiced consistently, political honesty is a road that leads man's mind and will to do good for one's country and one's people; for if someone once said that all roads led to Rome, today it can be stated that all roads of honest politics lead to a more just, fair and humane society.
Truly, as Wynter has said, there is no substitute for good leadership if we are to take our country to prosperity through selfless service for others.
And Wynter says that leaders ought to realise that corruption, like sin, was not relative. Corruption is not like sin, it is a sin.
To steal, to abuse public resources and power, is a sin. And truly, there is no sin that is small; "there is no big or small act of corruption".
We must search for honest solutions to our problems rather than crooked deals, because before we even realise it, they corrupt us, contaminate us and contaminate our consciousness. Virtue must be nourished but vice springs up like weeds and grows by itself.
We must bear that in mind. If we do otherwise, while nourishing virtue, we are simultaneously paving way for vice. There is need for our political parties to teach their cadres and leaders the importance of incorruptibility as the essence of self-respect.
While appreciating opportunities to make money and enjoy the good life, our political cadres and leaders should always refuse to use their positions to get themselves, or their families and friends, anything that isn't their due.
Of all the properties which belong to honourable politicians, not one is so highly prized as that of honesty and integrity. It is said that leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the integrity of character which inspire confidence.
There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience arising from an honest life, a life of integrity and selfless service. And this is why it is said that it is better to fall with honour than succeed by dishonesty or fraud.
Ethics must begin at the top of a political party. It is a leadership issue and the key leadership must set the example. It is therefore pleasing that Wynter, as secretary general of PF, as the chief executive of the party, is setting and explaining the standards which the party leadership at all levels must adhere to.
It will not be fair for the leadership of PF, at all levels, to ask of others what they themselves are unwilling to do. This is so because you can't lead anyone further than you have gone yourself. There is need to follow the grain in your own word.
Leaders lead by example. And example is not the main thing in influencing others as a leader, it is the only thing.
And as Nelson Mandela once put it, "when leaders have the honesty to criticise their own mistakes and their own organisation, then they can criticise others".
There is no power on this earth that can neutralise the influence of a high, simple and honest life. And as a Hindu proverb says, "there is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is being superior to your previous self".
Quality begins on the inside and then works its way out. Very little, if not nothing, will ever be achieved without honest leaders, leaders of integrity. People do not follow uncommitted leaders. And no man is fit to command another that cannot command himself. Being honest is the best political strategy.
Right up front, tell people what you are trying to accomplish and what you are willing to sacrifice to accomplish it. Time is always right to be honest and to always do what is right.
It is said that the highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it. And power is nothing but the ability to do good things for others.
The things Wynter is advocating are rooted in a straightforward view of society and in the understanding that the individual does best in a strong and decent community of people with principles and standards and common aims and values.
And as Vaclav Havel once remarked, "let's teach ourselves and others that politics should be an expression of a desire to contribute to the happiness of the community rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community".