Bias stops our good leaders being great
I like to be positive, so even when pointing to the dark side, it is an attempt to make us do better. Finding a distance between personal bias, desire and ambition seems to be the Achilles’ heel that besets leadership and is often the cause for the difference between bad, good or great leaders.
It is highly subjective to determine which leaders were the best or worst. Often we look at the benefits that leaders bring to us and our countries as indicators.
Sir Henry (Jack) Tucker, who helped to break the back of rigid segregation, is often touted as a great leader for his vision and accomplishments, both in the field of business and, more particularly, in his political leadership.
A good leader he was. However, his very limited social vision of real inclusion prevents him from earning the title of “great leader”.
We can go down the list of our leaders and it is the same phenomenon of personal bias that predicated their style and performance.
It’s nice to think of who have been our best leaders, but the competition to claim the title of the worst leader is just as vigorous. It is shameful to think that bias could be the culprit that sets the stage for a lasting reputation of being a bad leader and failure, but that’s what we have.
When decisions are made on personal bias and not on merit, they can set the entire country back. Personal bias and personal greed are two elements contributing to the title of worst leader.
We just witnessed the complete collapse of a party in the last election and, like pheromones, it was the scent of bias behind most of their decisions beginning from their first days in office, which set the stage for that demise.
They destroyed the opportunity to give the economy a jolt, choosing rather to just stem the tide; all because of underlying bias they allowed the economy to drift and remain stagnant.
The best that Bob Richards, the former Minister of Finance, was able to produce in a book was the “back from the brink” story and not “full steam ahead”, which was very possible.
You can make the observations and make your judgment. We are, to date, looking at good to bad or very bad; unfortunately we have not seen great yet and that’s because of these low-natured human tendencies.
However, the possibility for greatness always does exist, but it requires a leader to reach beyond his or her own bias.
Which is not to say that persons need to attain perfection, but means having the ability to recognise one’s bias and to put that bias aside to arrive at decisions that are based on pure merit and for the benefit of the country.