Sunday, December 17, 2017

Needing more than empty apology

To whom much is given, much is expected. I am referring to those in positions of leadership. 

Leadership comes with power; however, true leaders control power, they do not allow power to control them. Apart from power, the paradox of leadership should be accompanied by intrinsic values such as humi­lity and grace. These cannot be taught at higher-education institutions. Leaders give and receive instructions quite often from superiors. But leaders must also understand there are circumstances which warrant a role reversal.

Leaders must receive orders from underlings who, based on the latter’s context, are in authority to give instructions—for example, security guards. Humility will guide us to be receptive and gracious in following such directives. It is not enough to pontificate about the qualities of a good leader. Leaders must aim for best practice.

However, when a leader displays misogynistic behaviour, the situ­ation becomes sordid. Authority is not gender-specific. Our socialisation has already prepared us for such roles. Mothers share responsibility and authority with fathers. When a woman enters the workplace, she should feel safe to carry out her function without fear.

I wish to give kudos to private-sector firms which have actually practised zero tolerance on sexual harassment. Why should a woman put herself to such public scrutiny?

The purpose of my comments is not to promote man-hating, but simply that when an unsavoury act has been done to someone in the performance of his/her duties, there should be consequences for this. It goes beyond an empty apology.

We must also be mindful our youth are watching and they will emu­late us. Over to you, Madam Prime Minister.

Debra Leonard-Simon

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