A lesson from Humpty Dumpty
The birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem eons ago, has since triggered the annual celebrations of Christmas on the Christian calendar.
The life of Jesus Christ on earth was significant in more ways than one. His life on earth was primarily an example to the people of the world of what their lives ought to be. Christ therefore left a legacy for all people of the world to follow. The legacy of salvation, perfect love, forgiveness, kindness and sincere humbleness, was manifested through his works on earth and miracles He performed.
Each individual on earth has the potential to influence the lives of others. This holds true especially for our leaders. Our political, church, trade union, business and civil society leaders must be mindful of the fact that the actions and decisions they take in their respective roles, will certainly define the legacy they leave behind. Leaders should be wise to the fact that they can in one fell swoop, easily destroy the legacy which they built.
This can possibly come about as a result of a false sense of security they have on reaching to the top. They need not to be reminded that what goes up must come down. The pace at which it comes down and the impact which it has when it falls, can be determined by the individual. It should not matter if it comes down, but what does matter, is if it remains intact on and after landing.
It is often said that there is no excuse for ignorance. Conversely, common sense is sometimes not always applied. Leadership depends on the exercise of this along with a good sense of judgment. Where these are apparently lacking, there is seemingly no place for understanding and reasoning to be engaged.
This is a problem that plagues some leaders, who are emotionally driven by the perceived support which they think they have. Those in public life should be aware of how easy it is to ride on a wave of a buoyant people, who at the point in time are eager to see change or to have a particular collective or institutional cause aired, represented or defended.
The wave of energy and drive can all suddenly change if the leader fails to deliver, or assumes a path which does not find favour with his disciples. In such a case, the emerging legacy could suddenly change face from a positive to a negative outlook.
Leaders should be quick to determine how they want to be remembered. It would seem that every leader would want to be remembered for something. It would be rather unfortunate if in generations to come, the history books record a story of the negative impact which an individual leader brought to bear during his/her tenure.
It is fair to say that there will be some good and some bad in all leaders. Since society can be sometimes rather unforgiving, it is the bad that becomes the lasting memory over all the good that may have been done. Many a leader who have reached the top make the cardinal mistake of believing that no other must rise above their achievement.
Those who build and then seek to destroy are obviously defining their own legacy. Those who view leadership as a competition, are obviously shortsighted in their thinking. Those who are looking to build their ego, and proceed to do so by being unpatriotic and nationalistic, ignoring all principles, standards, best practices and the rule of law, are certainly on the path of leaving a tainted legacy.
There is a lesson to be learnt from the story of Humpy Dumpty. For those who are unfamiliar, the story comes in the form of a nursery rhyme, which reads:
Humpy Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, All the king’s horses and all the King’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.
As the celebration of Christmas 2016 ends, my gift of advice to all leaders, is to emulate the example of Jesus Christ in the exercise of their actions, thoughts and deeds. They are also cautioned to do so with the understanding that what they conceive or initiate will help to determine their legacy which at the end of the day can impact on nation building.
(Dennis DePeiza is a labour management consultant with Regional Management Services Inc. Visit our Website: www.regionalmanagementservicesinc
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