People have grown tired of surprises and want to exist in a transparent world. Command and control no longer works – the internet, Google, Wikipedia and hackers have all blown open the systems to impose control over information. Leadership without trust is not sustainable and trust cannot exist without transparency of information.
Let’s just reflect on the role of leaders, whether you’re a business leader, an elected MP or councillor or an officer such as town planners. Your role as a leader is to represent the needs of those you serve – to do this you must understand the needs of the community you represent. To understand their needs, you must ask and consult with your community and take their perspective rather than your own.
Lao Tzu said, “a leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
Leaders must be seen to put the people they represent ahead of their own, to secure the communities trust.
I am presenting to the Newham Council Strategic Development Committee tomorrow. The Committee is planning to build a 15-storey building sited on top of a local community children’s play area at the end of my Road. This building will also block the stepped access from the park to the train station. The access point is used by 1,000 to 2,000 residents and park users daily. There is no assessment in the planning application of the impact of the loss the stepped access to and from the station.
There has been little or no consultation with the local community. Of the 200-local people I spoke to while securing over 100 signatures, 90% questioned did not know that the buildings were planned. 100% were not aware that the stepped access between the Park and the station was being removed and that the building over-looking the Park is a tower of 15 storeys.
Remember the story of David and Goliath!
I read this article about a 17-year old girl who petitioned her government to provide clean water and she won!
There is nothing that empowers people more than leaders not being transparent and not listening to their community, eventually the community becomes their enemy. You do not have to look much further than Prime minister Tony Blair once loved as an empathic leader then hated for his decision to take the UK into the Iraq war on false evidence.
The digital age has allowed people to learn more about their leaders. The digital age has changed the levels of transparency that we expect from leaders and the organisations that represent us. This need and demand for transparency in society is at an all-time high.
If people believe they have the power to change the world, then they will change the world. No matter how small that person or the community may be, power and influence is no longer in the hands of leaders.
Nelson Mandela said, “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
What this boil down to is that transparency is the new leadership imperative.
I do not know if my campaigning will make a difference but I do know if I do not try nothing will change.
Let me know if you have taken-on Goliath and won?