This post rooted from watching on television, a video in the Chamber of Parliament where a small but unusual altercation took place with our Prime Minister and members of the opposition. The world of news media and social media erupted and brought more publicity to something that, in all honesty, nobody really needed to know. Guilty as everyone else, I too was sucked into the useless story, casting judgement where I thought appropriate. Anytime politics make headlines, I begin contemplating the issues of our political system. How incredible would our country be if all parties would give an honest effort to work together as a team- for the greater good of the country- unattached to who gets the credit? In the grand scheme of things, isn’t that what we pay them to do? This doesn’t mean that they can’t have opposing views, in fact they SHOULD challenge each other. It is the reason we’re given options as voters; for each of our citizens to be represented for their individual views and values. But all too often, challenging a thought or an idea is handled in a way of an attempt to make another wrong by trying to be right. The productive way to challenge another is to ask questions in a manner of authentically trying to understand the opposing point of view. Once it’s understood, you’ve earned the right to help the opposition think about the things that they might not have. Discover together what is truly the best course of action, unattached to whom gets the credit. If the right questions are asked, not in an attack of the idea, but in effort to understand; then the responses would no longer come from a position of defense, but simply of articulating their point of view. This approach should enlighten both the questioner and the respondent.
The most effective people in life are those that can take something seemingly complex, and simplify it. If a teacher can take a complex problem or theory, and articulate it with clarity, breaking it down into simple segments where her students comprehend the concept with little effort, she has effectively reached her objective.
Simplicity brings Clarity. Clarity begets comprehension. The better we comprehend, the easier we find solutions.
Strength in numbers: The more people working together to solve a single problem, the more ideas come and consequently, the quicker and better come the solution.
These points in mind, the more effective a leader is at simplifying a problem, the more people he will aid to comprehend with clarity, then the more people will work toward a solution. This should illustrate not only the impact of a leader, but also of their true role.
But the onus isn’t entirely on the person given the formal responsibility of leadership. Though he is expected to set the tone for behavior, each member is responsible for their own actions. Leadership doesn’t require a formal title. It requires character traits. Leadership is about being first to take action, about having the courage to initiate a change that is needed. He who begins, sets the tone and others follow. Each one of us is capable of that.
From an outsider’s perspective, I see a dysfunctional culture in Parliament. Though it cannot be an easy job, culture sets the tone in how they solve problems. Culture is made up of people. Voters choose its people but only by the options they are given. If political culture was more positive, perhaps it would attract more positive people to become involved in politics?
If you haven’t already picked it up, I’m not just talking about politics. This post is about any organization; a business, a sports team, a volunteer group, a classroom…. If things aren’t functioning well, the fix is not easy. The longer the culture has been formed, the more difficult the change. Change begins at the point of acknowledgement; of acceptance that change is needed. Change begins when someone chooses to take charge and to lead by their new actions. Actions are much more powerful than words. Don’t just say it should be better; be better.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi