In a recent news report, a media aide to an African president was quoted as saying “Even Jesus Christ and the Prophet Mohammed had their critics”. This was the operative’s inelegant response to questions asked about his principal’s low approval rating for his performance as a president. Obviously there is truth in the statement and in this era where “authenticity” is highly valued in communication skills, it is possible that the riposte might have played well with significant numbers of voters. If I were a politician, I would have been taken aback by such a sweepingly generalised statement being made in my defence, however.
Another way of looking at the situation is, that effective leaders should have a clear sense of what they aim to achieve in their endeavours and ought to be willing to follow through on their plans, regardless of what is popular or unpopular. There should be enough flexibility in each person’s modus operandi to be open to constructive criticism and he or she should be willing to shape and reshape plans accordingly. But having a plan, strategy or set of values is also important.
If I am not beholden to people I happen to know, then should I be expected to conform to their idea of what is right or wrong? Within the boundaries of legality, each one of us has the right to make choices or decisions that might not be appealing to others. Innovation usually emerges from people daring to be different in their thinking and actions.
What role does social media platforms play in this ping pong game of being respectable? Sometimes I wonder if life would be simpler if I wasn’t constantly being distracted by the flow of images and nuggets of information that I receive all the time.
Maybe it’s time to consider rationing or putting some restrictions on one’s mobile phone usage.