Publisher's Note

The moral leader

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The urban legend has it, “For a German and a Finn, the truth is the truth. In Japan and Britain it is all right if it doesn’t rock the boat. In China there is no absolute truth. In Italy it is negotiable”. I, thus, kept wondering what is the truth in South Africa ? I ask the question, taking into consideration and appreciating the cultural diversities of the South African society, this saves me from dissecting various races and giving heuristic bias answers on the subject matter.

In this highly polluted environment coupled with too much noises, investigations and accusations, it is sometimes very difficult to find the real truth. This situation of false truth, half-truths and no truths, if anything, is becoming unbearable. Perhaps it could be ameliorated through moral leadership. I say so, not necessarily pontificating a bias towards any form of the truth.

Leadership is a vital instrument required in various spheres of life. The important social institutions such as the economy, religion, education, politics or the government require more than leadership, they require moral leadership. In his famous theory of moral sentiments, Adam Smith advances a cogent and well-articulated argument for prudence and justice in order for societies to survive and flourish.

Some have described moral leadership as aiming to serve. Instead of showcasing their own skills, moral leaders tend to develop the capacities of others.

For productive, harmonious, functioning societies, morality is an inescapable aspect. Despite the many challenges we face with inequality, poverty, crime and unemployment, it is also important that leadership in those key social institutions must shine the torch of impeccable moral standards.

Having observed the toxic environment from politics, to bogus religious leaders, business greed and global terror, I am convinced we need to emulate the virtues propagated by Smith. He suggests the character of a truly virtuous person embodies the qualities of prudence, justice, beneficence and self-command.

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