I recently promoted the new LeadSA initiative on my blog and twitter account, saying what a fantastic idea it was and how important it is for our sense of national identity and patriotism. The publicity and attention it gained was noteworthy and for many individuals it was an outlet to dedicate their focus and efforts for a better country. Not a week later, LeadSA was completely overtaken by stories of the largest national strike in our democracy’s history. Instead of leading, people have rather chosen to be led.
Where they are being led to, is another question completely. The misguided actions of violence, malice and aggression is so reminiscent of apartheid days that we could be forgiven to believe that we are still under the rule of a self-imploding national party with no clear national agenda…maybe we still are?
The lack of leadership currently being demonstrated by the ANC, COSATU and the strikers can only be blamed on the individuals involved at all levels. As a citizen of this country, you are responsible for yourself and for your actions. Furthermore, as LeadSA has tried to initiate, you are responsible for how you choose to lead positive change.
So lets get back to basics and build on the momentum that LEADSA has already generated. Let’s define exactly how we as citizens of this country lead South Africa:
We lead by serving first and foremost.
It is about what we give the nation, not what we take out. So a question for every striker has to be – are they teaching at a greater level of skill and service than before – are the nurses going the extra mile for patients, or simply doing the bare minimum ? Stopping your colleagues from working is not service. Badgering peers into going with the herd is not leading it is coercing.
In order to effectively lead South Africa forward as a citizen of this country, one must put service to others at the forefront of their personal conduct. One must lead South Africa by having the respect for others dignity, rights and choices. And the age old excuse of doing to other as it so to you is not leading – it is following.
I am not suggesting utilitarianism, and I am not suggesting a caste system. I am, however, saying that in order to LEAD this country towards something more positive, we need to start choosing to be leaders ourselves!