A true leader is a servant to all
Submitted by Najiah on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 The Malay Mail
They are there not to lord over others but because they genuinely want to lead and serve those under them
THERE are leaders in all walks of life — politics, bureaucracy, business, academia, sports, in the community and at home. Some have even attained iconic status.
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 09:06:00
While many possess the mantle of leadership, it is sad only a few really enlighten and inspire confidence and trust in those whom they lead or make them want to emulate their example.
We might have heard the proverb, “When the good have authority, the people rejoice; but when the bad rule, the people mourn."
The leadership role demands uprightness, integrity, morality and justice at all times. It comes as a rude shock to us when we find those in positions of responsibility or those whom we look up to are associated with, or worse, implicated in acts of criminality, depravity, dishonesty or injustice.
There can be no excuse due to ignorance or being misled or that committing something wrongful is personal and should not be a matter of concern to others.
We must remember leadership in any form involves others, often the public, and a leader should, at all times, be held to the highest public scrutiny.
Leaders really care for those over whom they have responsibility. They serve as leaders, not to lord it over those whom they lead, but they do so because they genuinely want to serve.
And by their service, they set an example for others to follow. In other words, a true leader is a dedicated and diligent servant.
There is an ancient Middle Eastern story of a master who had to travel on a long journey. He gave one of his servants the responsibility to manage his other household servants and take care of them.
When the master returned after a long absence, he found the servant had done such a good job he rewarded him by putting him in charge of all he owned, for it is only such a faithful, sensible servant who can truly be a leader.
Good examples of leadership often start from the home, where the father and mother have different leadership roles, and must exercise these with care, faith and conscientiousness and provide the right direction to all family members.
As time goes by, children, too, have leadership roles in various situations and they often follow the example set by their parents in carrying out these tasks.
It is often said that unless one knows how to lead and guide one’s own home and family, it is difficult to fathom how that person can provide good leadership to the people who trust him or her to lead them.
A good leader must live as far as possible a scrupulous life and eschew committing anything that is unlawful, unfair, corrupt and deceitful, avoiding self-aggrandisement, arrogance and any form of extremism.
Good leadership is recognised by the qualities of decency, goodness, patience and humility demonstrated.
Showing kindness and faith in those whom one leads, but still being firm, decisive, prompt and action-oriented are qualities that are appreciated, even if not immediately, but definitely in the long run, and which will bring results to benefit all — those being led and the leader.
Leaders must be ready to stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of the less privileged and the downtrodden.
They must seek to judge fairly and defend the rights of the poor and needy, including, for instance, the widows, orphans, elderly, the sick, disabled, destitute and aliens.
The responsibility for seeing that justice is dispensed speedily, impartially and in a fair manner rests on the shoulders of the leadership concerned.
Leaders, above all, should not lose heart and grow weary in executing their responsibilities according to the highest ethical standards.
Such leaders, by not slackening and who remain strong and true to what is required of them, in due time, will reap a rich harvest of success for the nation, to the satisfaction of all whom they lead and serve, and who look up to them as worthy role models to follow.
Finally, leaders must realise that much responsibility is placed in them and as people have fully committed to them by way of accepting their leadership, much will also be expected of them as leaders.