Responsible Leadership

A sobering article on responsible leadership in the age of populism. Worth reading. An extract:

The way today’s leaders increasingly rely on referenda, petitions and social media to legitimize their action suggests the emergence of a worrying trend of delegation of leadership and therefore responsibility.

In Britain, the Brexit referendum is a case in point, where those who put this issue to a vote and campaigned for the UK to leave the EU did not take responsibility for the consequences. The illusion that politics can simply collect people’s preferences and mechanically turn them into a reality threatens to override the idea behind political representation.

In a representative democracy, the mission of leaders should be to temper citizens’ input and emotional responses rather than to foster the violence of the majority. In other words, the relationship between representatives and represented must be ongoing and should entail judgement on both sides.

The article lists 10 personal qualities that should be present in a responsible leader. The person who will assume the role of the next President of the US in a few days time would appear to lack all of them.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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2 Responses to Responsible Leadership

  1. Mark says:

    unfortunately, increasingly the population uses spoon-fed sound bites and unverified statements to make all voting decisions. Small wonder that those trying to be elected find that being a “responsible leader” doesn’t get them very far.

  2. Matthew D Healy says:

    “But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

    –Edmund Burke

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