Precise vision and steadfast leadership: A compelling priority | Sunday Observer

Precise vision and steadfast leadership: A compelling priority

26 January, 2020

The hugely popular American President John F Kennedy once said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The gripping priority today for Sri Lanka is exactly the same. Sri Lanka is a nation weary of negative political ideologies, politically influenced corruption and colossal waste. At this crucial moment, the countrymen eagerly look forward to a significant change from the new regime. The citizenry as a whole is hungry for overall development, an improved quality of life and happiness. To achieve this feat, a leader with the correct vision and unshakable leadership is a mandatory requirement.

Although the leadership in a country is political, the vast majority of the community expect the present President to be a statesman rather than a mere politician. History has given a plethora of political leaders who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of their countrymen. Many of these leaders have steered their nations during times of crisis while being in power. The likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Sir Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln are some who fall into this category. They were responsible for implementing strategies and policies meant to be better for their respective countries. The presumption is that most of the citizenry is looking forward to a statesman of the sort from the current head of state.

Vision is described in the Cambridge Dictionary as “ the ability to imagine how a country, society, industry, etc. could develop in the future and plan for this.” It is said, the secret to success is the leadership vision. As per the policy statement submitted, the leadership does have a clear and correct vision and he shares it with others. If everybody around assists without hindrance, the country will shift towards prosperity rapidly.

Thus far the new President has inspired the people around him by setting examples, particularly, on cost reduction and the control of public funds wastage, which the country has barely experienced from a leader during the past several decades. However, it is not an easy mission until the prevailing mindset and attitudes are made to transform into a positive flow of thought. Hence, an unshakable and bold leadership is required as mentioned in the President’s manifesto.

Leaders cautiously choose an effective and efficient team to delegate their pre-planned proceedings. The achievement of the common goal is predominantly monitored by this first set of sub leaders in the team. The most difficult part in the exercise is picking this team. The decisions and actions of the key team which comprise the Cabinet and bureaucrats are crucial and the margin of error must be nonexistent.

A 16th Century Philosopher Nicolo Machiavelli, quoting on political leadership said, regardless of how a ruler was elected to office, he would only be successful when he utilized the strengths of his ministers. It is imperative to relate this statement to the current political environment in Sri Lanka. History has shown that the conduct of members of the ruling party, more often than not, led to the downfall of Governments. This was the fundamental factor for the change of regimes in every instance.

It is a relief for the public to realise that the new President is not a conventional politician. It is up to the President himself to prove that the significant change the country yearned for can be reconstructed in all spheres.

Managing an important and efficient team on national issues could be a complex task for a leader, while teamwork is the key to success in achieving the common goal. It is only through teamwork that we can combine different viewpoints to recognize and seize opportunities, overcome obstacles and achieve the objectives. Therefore, combined and properly coordinated action of the whole machinery for the common cause is vital for the development of the country.

The biggest test for the President is to eliminate long established politically influenced malpractices. Public opinion on politicians in all levels is exceedingly low and faith in them virtually non-existent.

The general belief is that there is embezzlement in any civic task they undertake which usually is a fact except in a few politicians. This has been the common man’s experience in the past decades. The leadership has shown ample traits such as emotional stability, self assurance, tough-mindedness and dominance to face this challenge. People measure the success of the leader by the results and expect him to make decisions without fear of criticism if the end result is beneficial to the masses. If this dreadful corruption routine could be eradicated, half of the tribulations would automatically be solved.

Political ideologies, on which the vision of a leader is formulated, is not merely state efficacy but are essentially cultural, social and economical, as well as a particular vision for the common good. The vision proposed by the new administration possibly is flawless on paper, with 10 appropriately laid down, seemingly pragmatic key policies. The statement covers almost all United Nation’s sustainable development growth goals.

Guidance provided to carry out the foreign affairs management of the Government also appears to be very appropriate. Particularly the volatile situations of the Swiss Embassy matter and the much discussed MCC agreement issue was managed patiently and efficiently without antagonizing the local or foreign stakeholders.

Already the public has witnessed the frank yet unyielding stance of the leadership on various related matters.

As is the topic, a leader with an unshakable and strong personality who is able to make decisions without fear is an absolute necessity. It is equally important that the leader must not be looking only for future votes to get re-elected. A reconstructed country with a future is certain if the rest of the country, particularly the opposition political parties and their followers genuinely lend a hand with real eagerness.