When leaders fall from grace, smashing an often-times glittering career with an infractional decision and action or set of actions, they mostly fall over not due to lack of ability, but due to lack of heart. There is a genuine test of a leader and it has nothing to do with leadership smarts, influence, charisma or ability. For the fallen leader, their faulty and incomplete moral warehouse was audited by virtue of their interactions with the world, and it was generally found grossly wanting.
Simply the whole premise of leadership is this: Leaders don’t lie.
There is a strong moral context and dimension to true leadership; a context that weighs the greater good at all times and it’s swayed never by personal gain—in fact, personal gain is rejected point blank. It is an abhorrent absurdity for the genuine leader.
The leader’s wisdom tells them to eradicate any sense of falsehood before it can bite them. They’re self-scrutinising and highly self-reflective, critical of self to the point of a drivenness to overcome traces of moral ineptitude—for we’re all susceptible. They’re patently honest enough with themselves to know they’re no different.
The leader is ruthless, however, not settling for compromise regarding his or her own opportunities of serving their fellows. They’re strongly called to do this and they find actually achieving this call the driving aim, and very purpose, of their lives.
Leaders don’t take:
- Short cuts;
- Back handers;
- Chances to undercut the vulnerable in society;
- Things for granted.
The final test for a leader could be this: Give them an opportunity to provide feedback on something. How ‘considered’ i.e. how fair, impartial and balanced, the feedback is, is a good measure of the leader’s moral prowess. If there is any hint of them acting out of a lack of knowledge, or that knowledge is poorly or unfairly applied, or they’re acting for the purposes of self-promotion (all actions based in lies) the sins of pride, greed, lust etc are displayed for the discerning to see (for no one else generally will), as they show they’re wise ‘in their own eyes.’
Leadership and falsehood, linked together, is oxymoronic. The two cannot co-exist in harmony.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.