Political leadership

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Politicians have a hard path to walk at times. Just mentioning the word politician carries a negative vibe. Many of us don’t see those in elected office as having integrity and accountability. However, they are necessary to any democracy as they play an important role in the well-being of a nation and its people. I have always been taught that someone who takes on the responsibility of leadership must honour this trust.

Accountability is crucial to effective political leadership. If a leader isn’t accountable, then there will be no respect from the voters. A good political leader has to be honest and responsible for their own actions and decisions. That means communicating with all their constituents about the reasons for their decisions. They must also be willing to admit when they have made a mistake. They must represent the people rather than spending time “covering their backs” and criticizing others.

A good leader listens to the needs of the common people and represents them faithfully. In other words, regardless of political party or opinion, they must work to achieve the greatest good for the general population. The most effective leaders do not use fear, intimidation or their title, but lead by building consensus around a common goal.

A leader must be sincere or, as I like to think of it, pure of heart and spirit. They seek to put the needs of others first and to be aware of that choice. Who wouldn’t want to follow that ideal?

That doesn’t mean they have to be perfect. After all they are a human beings doing a hard job of leading others. You have to come to terms with the fact that you have flaws. Most people want a real leader and they are willing to live with someone less than perfect. You know why? Because they have flaws too.

As with anyone they will feel the pressures of the job, make mistakes and are criticized for actions or decisions they have taken or not taken. As Cree we should make sure they are all right. It doesn’t mean they are off the hook but that we care. It is part of the Cree way-of-life, making sure everyone is okay as best we can.

Sometimes our leaders need that support and to know they are not alone. Just as we expect our leaders to have certain qualities, we should want those same qualities to be reflected in ourselves. If you think, as I do, that leaders are servants of the people then it is up to us to be leaders ourselves. It is also up to us to ensure the health and well-being of our servants as well as let them know what we expect of them.

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