February 12, 2007 : Monday
Public Leaders- Private Lives- Public Doubts
Whenever something potentially embarrassing is revealed about a public person’s private life, two connected questions inescapably follow. The first is whether the thing that is revealed by itself disqualifies that person from continuing to do their job. The second, regardless of the moral rights or wrongs, is whether the revelation is politically survivable.
But one’s imperfections need not preclude a person from public service and leadership.
Still we can’t blame people from questioning the acts done by these leaders…
Leadership has become a “hot” topic in the church and in commerce. Why is so much being said about leadership these days?
A man who isn’t thirsty doesn’t think about water, but a man in a desert will think of nothing else. A man whose car starts when he turns the key won’t think about his battery, but a man whose car doesn’t start will be focused on it.
In life we think and talk about things lacking. We don’t spend much time on that which is working well, but that which is not. We don’t fix things not broken. So much is being said about leadership today because it’s broken. We are in a leadership crisis-there simply are not enough strong leaders to go around.
So having leadership crisis is an enough ground for us to intervene their lives? Realistically, yes we should be… because we are in doubt of their accountability.
The need for those who govern to be accountable to the governed often conflicts with the right of an individual, albeit a public leader, to privacy. Most believe job performance can be affected by what goes on in private lives, but most don’t believe scrutiny of private matters is a media responsibility and find such coverage excessive and unfair. Belief in importance of accountability was related to support for media’s responsibility to provide scrutiny, but not to concern with excessiveness and fairness.
So for these leaders to prevent people from continue monitoring their lives in private… they should be morally upright with integrity and credibility.
Public leadership, in whatever form, is demanding due to the enormous and complex responsibilities involved. A public leader must therefore be upright, consistent, responsible, and accountable for results in order to offer valuable services to his society.
Ironically, some of our political leaders have not measured up to these qualities, hence have not performed well in office. Their actions and inactions have often reflected a commitment for personal gains rather than promoting the economic development of the country. In exercise of their duties, they have failed to set good examples of honesty and truthfulness, and thus, betrayed the confidence bestowed upon them before assuming civil positions.
Responsive leadership deals with the affairs and welfare of the society. For this reason, our political leaders must bear in mind that they are accountable to the public in their decision-making. Though, for a public leader to be responsible, he must have the liberty to exercise powers conferred on him for the execution of his duties; this freedom must be guided by equity and fairness to avoid its misuse against the citizenry. Regrettably, some of our political leaders have acted outside this norm, and consequently allowed their actions to impact negatively on public good. Decision-making is no longer governed by objectivity, transparency and accountability. We can see this in the way and manner some of them have misused state funds for projects that do not benefit the public but to satisfy the whims and caprices of few individuals.
It is important to emphasize that we cannot move forward as a nation unless there is a deliberate and concerted effort on the part of our leaders to see themselves accountable for their actions and inactions and implement policies that seek the welfare of the citizenry.
We are a nation in want; lacking basic infrastructure for economic development. Our education, health, energy, road, agriculture, and other social sectors need improvement. Our schools (from primary to tertiary institutions) require modern learning materials and tools; hospitals must be adequately equipped; our roads need improvement to reduce accidents and road fatalities; and alternative power generation are among the many basic social needs calling for urgent attention in Philippines today.
To be able to meet these needs, our political leaders must learn to make sacrifices, and put in place realistic development measures to improve the living conditions of the deprived. They must see themselves as owing Filipinos a collective responsibility to implement programs that contribute to the economic development of the country. This is absolutely necessary because responsive leadership is all about achieving results for public good.