Can A Truly Decent Man Be An Effective Leader?

My fellow 2 on 1 Friday blogger Shackman asks this innocuous question which in my opinion has only one answer. Only a truly decent man can be an effective leader.

I can simply rest my case here and end this post but, I will disappoint Shackman and so will continue.

“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”
~ Ekoshapu.

My working life included experiences of working under leaders and other figures in positions of authority. I therefore believe that I have the necessary qualification to make that observation. Fortunately for me, I had more leaders than others to report to and so was able to work under stress free conditions for most of my working life.

An effective leader can inspire one to perform whereas the other type of Superior expects obedience and therefore gets only what the book says and not that extra something that inspired work can deliver.

The difference between the two types of authority figures essentially lies in the first treating his subordinates as people whereas the latter treats the subordinates as subordinates. It does not take much discussion to decide that the former is a decent human being whereas the latter is not, let me qualify, in that particular role. Even decent human beings become different in their behaviour when given positions of authority and that is why I needed to express that qualification. On the other hand, an effective leader is a decent human being in all situations.

“Position gives authority and authority gives power, but only good behaviour begets respect”

Positions and Titles give power. Take away the title and power goes away. Any title, position or power, unless it is built on justice, can not endure. Greatness does not lie in just being strong but equally in the right use of strength.

His Phone rang in church by accident during prayers…
The Pastor scolded him.
The worshippers admonished him after prayer for interrupting the silence.
His wife kept on kept on lecturing him on his carelessness till they reached home.
You could see the shame, embarrassment and humiliation on his face.
*He has never stepped foot in the church ever again.*

That evening, he went to a bar.
He was still nervous and trembling.
He spilled his drink on the table by accident.
The waiter apologized, gave him a napkin to clean himself up.
The janitor also mopped the floor.
The female manager offered him a complimentary drink.
She also gave him a huge hug and kissed him while saying “Don’t worry man. Who doesn’t make a mistake?”
*He has never stopped going to that bar since then*

“You can make a difference by how you treat people especially when they make mistakes.”

I hope that my readers are as eager as I am to see what Shackman has to say on the matter in his blog.

16 thoughts on “Can A Truly Decent Man Be An Effective Leader?”

  1. Never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself!

    Told to me by my first ‘boss’ who respected all her staff – and in return had the respect of all her staff.

    Something I never forgot which stood me in good stead during my working life.

    1. This was an advice that my late mother used to give freely to everyone who would listen. It was given to me by one of the mentors that I was fortunate to have very early in my working career.

  2. I agree that only a truly decent person can be an effective leader although I think there are those who are not really decent but manage to lead for a time (until they are found out )
    I recently read someone saying that leadership is all about looking after your people (Simon Sinek, I think) and I like that idea. Looking after one’s people is the difference between a boss and a leader

    1. The first kind can indeed deliver short term results and that shows up in many Western organisations dependent on quarterly results. Such people inevitably lose out in the long term. Yes, the second part of your comments is bang on too.

  3. I approached it from the political spectrum and my answer is yes a truly decent person can be an effective leader but it is not a requirement. One need only look at Bill Clinton. Both Bushes – 41 and 43 were decent people yet only 41 was an effective leader IMHO. It is an interesting topic that we can revisit and each approach it in the direction of the other to get a complete picture of what we think.

  4. I was thinking politically rather than personally. As there are so few decent leaders of people and countries and those who are decent seem to stand out, which is awful. It should be the norm.

    I do love the story, very effective.


  5. perhaps the mark of true decency is the man or woman who does what is right or honorable even if NOBODY is watching. that probably is the true mark.
    I have had about three totally honorable men whom I worked for. the ego was not their overpowering inner leader. they seemed to operate effectively without it corroding their integrity! sad that it’s so RARE in today’s world. perhaps it always has been and we just have never known it.

  6. I would define decent as being honest and considerate, something a bit different from effective leadership, which as you say implies inspiring people to do their best rather than simply ordering them to do things. The difference between Barack Obama and Donald Trump perhaps.

  7. Yay! I was wondering which direction you were going to take your title and I’m glad to see I wasn’t disappointed. Decency has to be a major qualification in a good leader, especially when working with others. Every once in a while I extend decency to how people live their lives, but I pull back when it comes to how people decide to live their lives when they’re not in a position of hurting anyone else. What one does behind closed doors or in public where it’s an accepted norm is no one else’s business, and still allows the person to be a decent leader.

    At least that’s how I see it 🙂
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..We’re All In Control Of Our Destinies

    1. I doubt very much that a basically decent person can live a double life, one in the public eye and one behind closed doors. I can’t see such a person ever becoming a good leader of other people.

Comments are closed.