Crisis of leadership PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 07 May 2016 14:24

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

It’s always good to check from time to time this social and political requirement of ours. We always need leaders who can effectively orchestrate the different elements of our life so that we can attain or, at least, facilitate the attainment of our common good.

It’s a tremendous responsibility to choose the right people we put at the helm of our society to steer us in the right direction. With challenges getting not only plentier but also trickier, we need to know what criteria we should be using or what values should guide us in selecting our leaders.

Are they the appropriate ones? Or do we allow ourselves to be used and deceived by all sorts of gimmicks played around?

Candidates for leadership will obviously try to take advantage of anything they think would help them in their pursuit for positions. They will build up their war chest, bolster their popularity, package themselves as attractively as possible.

If you allow them, they will buy you, drown you with their images, hypnotize you with their names, make all kinds of spins to any issue, etc. We have to be most wary of these unwelcome cohorts candidates bring along, and focus on what truly is important in selecting.

Besides, they might think of leadership only in the practical sense, without any reference to God. Power and authority are seen as coming only from the people, and not as a participation of the power and authority of God. Charisma, if they have any, is just pure personal luck, again with no reference to God.

It’s the voting populace that has more or less the last say in the choosing. That’s why, to a certain extent we deserve the kind of leaders we have, since we, in a collective sense, choose them.

The classic criteria in choosing our leaders are basically two: competence and integrity. These, of course, can ramify into countless branches of considerations.

But already at the first level, there’s a significant segment of the people who put these two criteria into conflict. One part is just contented only with competence and look down on integrity. As long as the goods are delivered, no matter how, which can include the immoral means, the leader is regarded effective.

Another part just looks almost exclusively at integrity, defining it in some curious ways, with God largely excluded, and hardly gives any attention to a candidate’s capabilities and expertise.

Many fail to see the organic connection, even the mutual relation between these two basic qualities. They can get contented with one without the other, not knowing that both need each other to survive and prosper.

It’s true that the combination is often an elusive ideal, and that we can always manage with our enormous capacity for tolerance and for resourcefulness to get by with any situation. But we have t work on this goal for choosing leaders with greater determination and system.

Our times call for it. We need authentic leaders and we have to learn how to recognize and elect them. We’ve been in some kind of a bubble produced by a democracy that hardly exerts any effort to nourish itself with true values. It contents itself with simple majority.

We need to outgrow this mentality and effect a real conversion, not just putting lipstick on a pig. It’s no easy job at all. It requires tremendous effort on the part of everyone, and especially of our leaders. Of course, the transformation has to start in individuals, in homes, schools and churches.

Sadly, in many parts of the world today, leadership is understood and pursued in this way. It’s as if the challenges are purely political or social or economic. And thus, the solutions can only come from those provinces. The religious grounding of leadership is at best confined to an ornamental role.

It’s truly funny to hear talks of ethics in business and politics when God is not put into the picture. Instead, shameless maneuverings and brute power plays are resorted.

The crisis of leadership in the world stems from this purely secular outlook. Only time will expose the anomaly of this attitude. Its congenital error will play out in full, as it seems to be showing in our current global political crisis. Soon, it will paint Godless leaders and peoples into a corner.

At the moment, many of us still feel deeply awkward to admit the role of God in our leadership and in our assessment of leaders’ competence and integrity. We are actually playing into the hands of a worsening and escalating trouble.

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 May 2016 14:51