The Running Commentary

Astringent Leadership will define the victor

FW DE Klerk

The mark of a leader in troubled times is defined by one word, Astringency. I must confess that I did not know this word until this morning after reading an article, by Michael Kinsley, in the TIME magazine.

Astringency means telling people what they don’t want to hear and leading them to where they don’t want to go.

I think that this is a key that any leader worth their salt, given the current global crises, is going need to have. We cannot have leaders that are afraid to call it like it is. We need leaders that don’t pander to the whims of people but instead show resolve and courage of conviction.

These leaders are able to say to the electorate, “Can you see what your greed has caused? We are going to go to have to correct this through extreme measures, but we can get through this if you believe in me”

This type of leadership is very rare and is desperately needed.

Politics by committee will lead to protracted and poor leadership. You need only look to the ANC decision making over the past weeks to see the effect of poor decision making. They are going to need to mop up the mess big time, causing their focus to shift from serving their electorate to a host of infighting and uncertainty.

This arguably has led to the break away party, and while this is unlikely to be as big as the ANC it will, never-the-less, be the beginning of the end in terms of absolute rule.

This is good news for South Africa as a whole.

Here’s hoping that we will see the true leaders emerging from the various parties and that the parties support them and provide guidance and solutions. We cannot have puppets dancing on a stage, because, once you have seen the show, it gets tired and the audience will lose interest.

You may have wondered via I chose a picture of FW De Klerk, well for me he demonstrated astringent leadership, when he took the reigns to take this country to the starting point of the democratic era.

ANCAstringentFW De Klerkleadershippolitical partiesSouth Africa

Mike • October 22, 2008

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