Monday, July 22, 2024
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Bob’s Banter

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By Robert Clements

Dare to be a Leader..!
Over three decades ago, while a young Rotarian, a game was played by the over hundred members of my club, and it was about who they felt was most popular. I was pleasantly surprised to find I had won.
Two years later, there were some issues I felt I had to take a stand about, and found I’d become the most unpopular person around.
Last year, the same club called me as a guest speaker. I found the members had a grudging respect for me, for having taken a stand over three decades back. Which made me want to broach the subject about popularity and respect today, ultimately leading to good leadership, especially as a so-called popular politician’s been cut to size, due to respect for him, being on the wane.
To a great extent, the difference between popularity and respect is that one is about surface appearance while the other is about admirable qualities that lie within. In a world dominated by social media, it’s easy to be tricked into believing the person with the most “likes” is the winner.
However, would you do business with someone just because he or she is popular? I don’t think so. You’re more likely to want to do business with someone you respect … and that usually comes down to what we once called “good morals”.
Isn’t that old-fashioned? Surprisingly, no. According to the Carmen Honacker, the qualities we most respect in other people are:
Integrity: Having a code of ethics, based on common decency.
Courage: Doing what’s right, even when it’s inconvenient or puts us in a difficult position.
Humour: Laughing to get through tough times. No, this is not about ridiculing others.
Social intelligence: Accurately reading people’s emotions or what’s going on below the surface in social situations.
Emotional maturity: Owning your emotions and accepting the full range of feelings, yet choosing to express them maturely and appropriately.
Kindness: “True popularity comes from acts of kindness and kindness goes hand-in-hand with compassion.
Self-confidence: We need a balanced view of our weaknesses and strengths, and to see mistakes as opportunities to grow. No self- esteem or an inflated sense of self-worth are dangerous.
Discipline: Having the dedication and persistence to stick to your goals and working to achieve what you believe in.
Generosity: Giving our time and money to create a better world. At the end of the day, life is about people — how can I sit back and do nothing when I am blessed, yet others are in need?
Self-awareness: Acknowledging no-one is perfect and having the humility to put others first, no matter how successful we are.
As one wise writer says, ‘Popularity is doing what people want, and respect is doing what people need.”
A disclaimer before I move on is that I don’t pretend to have these qualities I’ve just penned, but would certainly aspire to get there!
Now let’s get on with these qualities leading to good leadership.
There’s something amiss in this country: There’s somebody who’s going round the world pounding his chest and shouting, “Look at me, see I’m back for the third time,” and there’s the world saying, “I think you’ve got it wrong, there’s a brother and sister, who seem to have more leadership qualities than you!”
I believe, and this is not a political article, that these elections have shown us qualities of true leadership. And let’s learn some pointers about leadership from the election’s that’s happened:
First learn we are human, not gods, and so limited in our understanding or thinking, so never neglect taking ownership of your mistakes or the mistakes of your team. That is what strong leaders do. They take full responsibility for mistakes, and they are respected much more for doing so.
Secondly, have the boldness to point out what’s not worked and propose methods that will work. Yes, you need to become a problem solver. Which means to think out solutions. People respect problem solvers and solution finders more than blamers. Even if people don’t fully accept your proposal, they will respect you for providing one. It shows that you are truly invested in making things better, and you will gain a reputation for generating ideas, solving problems and improving processes.
Thirdly, treat other people not just the way you would like them to treat you, but go one step farther and treat others the way they want to be treated. Which means investing time and thought to find out and delve into the strengths and weaknesses of others. This is very important as we are not generalising but serving a specific purpose. Focus on what they need and what they care about.
Fourthly, learn to ask questions and remain open to new ideas. Yes, from the recent elections we have found that people really don’t like know-it-alls. If you go around diminishing others while acting like you have a monopoly on bright ideas, you will be disliked. People will respect you less because they don’t feel you value their ideas or expertise.
Fifthly, learn to deal with conflict even when it’s uncomfortable. When you avoid conflict, you send a message that you are afraid, or that their needs are inferior to yours. Turning a blind eye to a conflict as what happened in Manipur is more the style of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned.
Finally, allow criticism from others. Never think that only weak people need others. Strong ones have the courage to allow others to provide assistance. When you ask for help, you show your strength. You show that you are indeed confident in your abilities and have the willingness and courage to accept guidance. You show others that you don’t believe yourself to be superior to those around you, and you create opportunities for others to contribute to your development.
Yes, there’s much that we can learn from these elections, if only we look closely..!
The Author conducts an Online Writers and Speakers Course. For more details send a thumbs-up to him on WhatsApp 9892572883 or [email protected]

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