Improving understanding and engendering trust in our leaders

Is life and leadership essentially competing for survival or do we naturally cooperate and deliver what people want?

by Victor Cherubim

To deliver the government we need, we must improve our leaders’ understanding of people’s need.

Understanding can only be improved in the context of the people of Sri Lanka today, by demonstrating record of tangible results in delivery of services by the leaders, in the past and the proven ability to continue in the present and into the future?

What does this take?

It takes leadership, courage, and resilience.

One of the secrets of a leader of a country today with all the uncertainty surrounding, is showing unstoppable progress in his/her canny knack for withstanding negative publicity.

Presidential Leadership is like a fashion, an icon, a “brand”. It is never to emulate rivals or predecessors. It would be at a disadvantage. It is an image in the mind of the voter, rather a cultivated image to turn shortcomings into assets. To go the long haul, irrespective of the consequences, absorbing one’s flaws into your brand, rather than conceal them.

Trying to build a personal brand is the power of this leadership.

What this takes, is the survival of the fittest, the smartest, the ablest to live and to carry the voter along the full term of the Presidency, over good times and bad.

Lesson from Nature

Many of us have read the view of nature popularised by Thomas Huxley, that the strongest, the swiftest and the most cunning creature survive.

However, this view was challenged by another author Peter Kropotkin, who thought that nature is normally cooperative. He thought that animals with the best chance of survival, like whales, sharks, dolphins and even meerkats are often seen to work together. There is no doubt, we see this display clearly in insects. There is a hierarchy and there is an army of workers?

Which of this view is right?

Is life and leadership essentially competing for survival or do we naturally cooperate and deliver what people want?

There is no denial that when we are “on our knees in debt,” when we are nervous in front of an audience, or when we doubt our own ability or credentials and find it difficult in expressing our opinion and/or explain to the people what we can and cannot do in government, to turn the country aroundduring the limited time frame, people can and will generally sense a feeling of authenticity.

Not promising the “moon and the stars” but showing the first step towards folding these characteristics into a positive “Brand” is to understand the positive aspect of each of these traits in leadership.

In other words, a good leader is one who knows and is able to carry the public, the people, the nation, to remember that most weaknesses are the flip side of a strength.

How to turn a weakness into a strength?

Perhaps, it is like this:
1. Instead of “nervousness in front of an audience”, you have a high sensitivity to audience reaction and a powerful desire to satisfy expectation in a possible way.
2. Instead of “doubting one’s credentials or one’s ability to deliver”, you have excessively high standards and a need first to earn the trust placed in you, and then prove your capacity and capability.
3. Instead of flouting your power, you show the people who want you as their leader, that the task ahead is not only important to each citizen of the nation, but to the survival of the nation itself.

What do the people want?
The people of Sri Lanka now want a person who is authentic, a person who will not only say what he/she hopes to deliver, but one who has a Plan of Action and deliver on the promises made, in the time frame promised.

This gives people a kind of permission to refer to this Plan and not seek, but actively see the delivery as the months and years roll over. Without this “creative visualization” in a leader, a brand can never materialize, neither can a people feel the fruits of their labour.

All for One and One for All?

We all survive better when we work together and support the “weakest link”. Still many others think, all life is about survival and to survive you need compete?

There is nothing seriously wrong in competition, but competition must be on a level playing field. If you haven’t got one, you need to create one.

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