BusinessDay

Of the fleeting nature of power

I remember a driver to a certain Chief Judge. He was a boss! Never failed to remind everyone and anyone who cared to listen that he was the Chief driver. Arrogance became him and he became arrogant. Even the Chief Judge’s young children were not particularly protected from his shenanigans and on occasion, he was reprimanded for complaints that reached his employers. When the Chief Judge was elevated out of jurisdiction, he left behind his “Chief driver”. Because the Chief driver had stepped on toes, bullied, broken down bridges and isolated himself. No one wanted to work with him. The new Chief Judge came with his own driver who was later to carry the title, Chief. The staff of the State Judiciary nicknamed him “Marigayi” meaning deceased or late. Marigayi because at the end of his tenure as Chief, there was nowhere for him to go within the system, he was dead to them.

Another one was the boss who was the maid in a certain household. Her weapon was food. If the other staff were in her good books, she fed them well, if they were not, the consequence was hunger or small portions. She wielded power until her employees found out she was stealing. Her downfall was celebrated by the staff of the household. She left the same household, disgraced and despised.

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The fleeting nature of life, of power, the opportunities that abound when one is blessed with an opportunity to serve, or a position, the power that can (and often) intoxicate, the nature of man and the desire to dominate. These are issues that one must be conscious of. As often as possible, ask yourself, how would I feel if I were the one at the receiving end? How would you feel if people celebrated your downfall because of the wickedness you exhibited during your time in power. It can haunt you for the rest of your life. Because karma serves you back in equal dose, imagine what will be coming back to you every time you are about to dish out some meanness or unkindness.

As individuals, or leaders, we receive report cards of our time in power periodically. Whether you are a Janitor, Governor or even President you have to listen to the effect of your actions and leadership. Listen closely to the feelings of the people you serve. Their pulse reflects your performance and if you have carried on as if there is no day of reckoning, it will certainly come. Carry out honest assessments of yourself by yourself. Listen to feedback, have empathy.

Leadership is trust, it is an opportunity to build bridges and mend fences. When you use the same tool to destroy bridges and build barriers, you will lose on so many fronts. For Marigayi, he lost an opportunity to be picked up by the next Chief Judge because there was no one to make the recommendation on his behalf. He continued to stay in the system as a castaway until his retirement came. Do not be Marigayi, do not let yourself be that person. Lead with humility, honor and respect.

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