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Posted by Philip on 1 July 2016, 9:33 am in , , , , , , , , , ,

Politicians – leaders or followers?

We call our politicians — whether local, regional or national — leaders, but are they really?

Given they are reliant on public support and popularity to be voted in, politicians can't really show true leadership, particularly leading up to elections. They have to listen to the public and represent the majority view if they want a chance in office.

Listening to public opinion isn't a bad thing — in fact it's commendable. But what the majority want isn't alway good for society in general. Cracking down on crime and punishment, blaming people for poverty and homelessness, and allowing house prices to rise to ridiculous proportions — these may be the types of things that Jo Public wants, but they don't create a civil, fair society.

And, as I wrote yesterday, denying inequality doesn't make the world equal — it may be what people want to hear, but it's just manipulating the truth — oh wait, that's also known as lying.

Lying isn't a great leadership trait. Nor is keeping the status quo when it leads to the erosion of the foundations of humanity. Great leadership requires authenticity, integrity, compassion and the courage to disrupt the status quo — to start new conversations, not about what is, but the possibilities of what could be.

So perhaps it's time to decay our idea of politicians as leaders. At best they are representatives and advocates, at worst followers.

The question then becomes, who else do we look to for leadership in these difficult times? Or even, what am I prepared to lead?

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