Editorial: LEAD THE SHIP

By anguillian November 13, 2017 12:23 Updated




If Anguilla was to be compared to a ship in a storm, many would say that after Hurricane Irma we have run aground. There is no doubt that Anguilla is in distress and must make an urgent cry for help. We are depending on our leaders to lead the ship off the rocks and into the waters of stability and prosperity. They have an uphill task ahead of them, but our expectation is that they will do whatever is necessary to rescue Anguilla. One of the first things they must do is to identify what is needed to get us out of trouble. I am hopeful that they have a team working round the clock on this. Next, they must determine who they will ask for help. This is important because, frankly speaking, we cannot do this by ourselves and we cannot place all our bets on the UK Government coming through for us. Finally, they have to formulate a plan for which course we will take – and how we can ensure that we do not find ourselves on the rocks when the next storm hits.

Forgive me for sounding corny, but to lead the ship requires good leadership – especially in times of crisis like these. Several years ago I shared my thoughts on what constitutes a good leader. I will repeat them here:
“We cannot underestimate the importance of good leadership to nation building. I am sure all of us can call to mind frightening examples, both past and present, of what happens when a country’s leadership goes awry – oppression, poverty, social unrest, revolution, civil war, etc. Our history ought to remind us that we are not immune from such. Various authorities on good leadership reveal several commonalities, seven of which I outline here for consideration.

“Firstly, a good leader is of exemplary character. He or she must accept responsibility for his or her actions, successes and failures, and ought to be someone that others can trust and would be proud to emulate. His or her character must exemplify the qualities he or she would wish to see in others. A good leader leads by example. Secondly, a good leader is visionary and enthusiastic about his or her work. A leader must have a long term goal in mind and work assiduously towards it. He or she must ensure that everyone around him or her shares the vision and is working equally hard to achieve it. Thirdly, a good leader is competent and confident in his or her ability to do the job. He or she must possess the capacity to do the work. A leader’s confidence must serve as an inspiration to others in the workplace so that they feel comfortable under his or her leadership.
“Fourthly, a good leader is orderly and purposeful. He or she acts responsibly. He or she ought not to be impulsive or erratic, but rather contemplative and strategic. A leader must never lose sight of the overall goal and must always have a plan as to how it will be accomplished. Fifthly, a good leader is tolerant. He or she ought to demonstrate respect for the views of others even if they differ from his or her own. A leader must remain calm and composed in difficult situations and resolve differences amicably and professionally. ”
Sixthly, a good leader is committed to excellence. A leader ought to be ambitious and passionate about his or her calling. His or her passion for his or her work should be so infectious that no one around can escape the infection unscathed. Lastly, a leader is analytical. A leader ought to be able to carefully examine and think critically about any situation, giving due consideration to all the information available – and identifying any additional information that may be needed in order to arrive at the best possible solution. He or she must be able to weigh the possible long term and short term consequences of any proposed action.”

Later this month, our Honourable Chief Minister and his team will travel to the United Kingdom to “plead Anguilla’s case” and seek to drum up the support necessary for our survival and our future development. This trip, indeed this entire post-Irma crisis, will be a test of his Government’s ability to lead. There is too much at stake – the education of our children, access to health care, the development of port facilities, the tourism sector, our economy and livelihoods. There is no room for anything else but good leadership at this stage. I am hopeful that our leaders have a plan B in place in the event that the UK Government decides to treat us as distant relatives, which is not unusual. I am also hopeful that, as a people, we can give our Government the support that it will need to get us out of this crisis without too many casualties. While we must hold our leaders accountable for how Anguilla navigates this monumental setback, we must still remember that we are all in this ship – and we all have to work together to keep it afloat, lest we all perish.

By anguillian November 13, 2017 12:23 Updated


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