For it happens that every couple of years that Mauritius witnesses what would best be described as a theatrical political masterpiece. In front stage we, of course, have the usual actors alongside some surprisingly refreshing new faces every now and then. However this is about as good as it gets. The current techniques and means being used by some, but not all, political leaders are downright dirty, unfair and certainly not providing any reassurance to the public nor hope for the tomorrow’s future. It is, however, not fully about the content of their manifestos, contrary to popular belief. It’s about their style of leadership. This is an essential yet easily forgotten aspect within the political arena.
To understand why leadership style is important, we need to understand why we do lead. Why do we lead in our professional sphere? Why do we lead at home? Why do we lead through politics? I believe that it is all down to our innate will to leave a good legacy behind: to ensure that tomorrow’s future have a good basis to work on. For me, this is what all good leaders, irrespective of their fields, sectors and arena, should aspire to.
Politics and the eternal chess game that it is, absolutely fascinates and appeals to me and I might be a bit idealist but my vision of leadership slightly differs to what we are all seeing these days in the Mauritian political scene. So I wanted to explore the question “what does a good leader do?”. Based on a few researches here and there, here’s my top 5 on the matter:
- Sharing what you believe in: Leadership is about standing up for something that you believe in. If you can convince one person to follow you in your passion then the world is your oyster. How many of us can say that we are sure and certain about what our leaders truly believe in? From my bird’s eye view, I am seeing a Mauritian society full of blind followers without really knowing and understanding what motivates their leaders to be there in the first place. Is it their fault or the fault of the leaders in question?
- Being gracious: Good leaders are not just good at talking about their own ideas; they are also good at appreciating the ideas of other. As such, learning to appreciate others is key to leadership. I would extend this further to ‘being dignified’. As leaders, we all want to be remembered for great things we have or will accomplish. However, despite the numerous achievements, people will always remember your leadership through the values you demonstrated. This unfortunately is a losing battle in the political arena of the island. I struggle to understand what the public likes about seeing their leaders, the very same people who will represent us globally, being undignified, not showing respect to their own partisans, let alone their rivals. Is this what being a leader means? I beg to differ.
- Getting connected: Leadership is about networking and building powerful relationships with people who share your passion. However, there is a fine line between connecting to build powerful relationships and connecting to further advance private relationships, at the detriment of the general public.
- Keeping it fresh and motivating: Good leaders don’t settle for past achievements. They keep innovating and re-inventing to grow and open new opportunities. Many people tend to forget that leadership is mostly about finding new ways to be better. Being a good leader does not involve just being a one-hit wonder.
- Last but not least, great leaders do not just impress their followers, they give them something to do to move forward. This says it all. Good leaders have been the ones who have started from the bottom rung of the ladder, reached the top and from this same top, extend a hand to those at the bottom to come to their level.
After compiling this list, it dawned on me that these attributes that I am holding on to are, at the end of the day, attributes that can be chosen by each and every leader. Leadership has always been a choice. Consequently, so is good leadership. So here’s my call to some of our current leaders in Mauritius: Ask yourself: ‘What will be my legacy as a leader? Am I being the best leader I can be?’And when you have done this introspection, please do not run away from the hurtful truth that may come out. What you will be remembered for may depend on it.