Posted by: nastylittletruths | July 22, 2010

Who’s Your Leader?

July 27th, 1990 and Joseph Toney (at the time MP for Toco/Manzanilla) was on the floor asking an Opposition MP this question and then the sound of gunfire… Anytime I remember the words, I remember the event… When I remember Joseph Toney, I remember the words…

The reason it came to mind was not that we are so close to the 20th anniversary of the coup, but we are perilously close to confusing who the real leader is in the People’s Partnership government. While Jack “The Giant Killer” Warner is not the de jure PM or political leader, it seems as if he is the de facto one. Well he certainly speaks as if he is…

One of my favourite jibes to my wife (who is a JW fan) is that he will get up one morning and decides he wants to be the prime minister (yesterday was yesterday and today is today), and if it comes to pass, the people will say, oh.. okay, we good with that. I mean, the man is loved and admired much, much more than he is hated. Ask anywhere south of the Caroni River. So as a good neighbour and a citizen, I offer Warren Bennis’s (widely known as a modern leadership guru) six personal qualities of leadership (whether by law or in reality):


Integrity means alignment of words and actions with inner values. It means sticking to these values even when an alternative path may be easier or more advantageous.

A leader with integrity can be trusted and will be admired for sticking to strong values. They also act as a powerful model for people to copy, thus building an entire organization with powerful and effective cultural values.


Dedication means spending whatever time and energy on a task is required to get the job done, rather than giving it whatever time you have available.

The work of most leadership positions is not something to do ‘if time’. It means giving your whole self to the task, dedicating yourself to success and to leading others with you.


A magnanimous person gives credit where it is due. It also means being gracious in defeat and allowing others who are defeated to retain their dignity.

Magnanimity in leadership includes crediting the people with success and accepting personal responsibility for failures.


Humility is the opposite of arrogance and narcissism. It means recognizing that you are not inherently superior to others and consequently that they are not inferior to you. It does not mean diminishing yourself, nor does it mean exalting yourself.

Humble leaders do not debase themselves, neither falsely nor due to low self-esteem. They simply recognize all people as equal in value and know that their position does not make them a god.


Openness means being able to listen to ideas that are outside one’s current mental models, being able to suspend judgement until after one has heard someone else’s ideas.

An open leader listens to their people without trying to shut them down early, which at least demonstrates care and builds trust. Openness also treats other ideas as potentially better than one’s own ideas. In the uncertain world of new territory, being able to openly consider alternatives is an important skill.


Creativity means thinking differently, being able to get outside the box and take a new and different viewpoint on things.

For a leader to be able to see a new future towards which they will lead their followers, creativity provides the ability to think differently and see things that others have not seen, and thus giving reason for followers to follow.


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