People's Charter, Pillar 3, and Chapter 8, State of the Nation paper: For Discussion
N234. The Charter deals with principles that are discussed in more detail in the relevant chapter(s) of the State of the Nation and the Economy paper that I have copied under the Charter chapter.
For earlier chapters of the Charter and State of the Nation paper, use the Search facility in the left column by writing Pillar 1, etc. Readers' comments on what has been done and is being done on the proposed reforms are especially welcome.
Ensuring Effective, Enlightened and Accountable Leadership
Critical Problems and Issues:
● Our people have suffered the type of “leadership” that has been elitist, parochial, divisive, extremist and self-centred. This has done little to advance the interests of our ordinary people.
● Our leaders in most cases have failed to involve us in making the major decisions that affect our well-being and our daily lives.
● We need leaders who are positive, visionary, transformative and constructive.
● We need leaders with a progressive vision for Fiji, a vision that is uplifting, motivating, unifying, and inspiring.
The Way Forward:
The following key measures and actions must be taken with due priority and urgency :
● Enact, and effectively enforce, a Code of Conduct for public servants, public and independent constitutional office holders, Municipal Councils, Members of Parliament and persons who hold statutory appointments or governing or executive positions in statutory authorities.
● Develop a leadership model and vision which clarifies the legitimate roles of elected and non-elected leaders in a democratic Fiji, with emphasis on honesty, integrity, professional ethics, and service to communities.
(For the detailed recommendations and proposed implementation actions, see the Report on the State of the Nation and the Economy.)
● Step up and enhance training and development of public leaders including parliamentarians, traditional, civic and community as well as youth and women leaders.
● Increase public awareness, including civic education at school level, on key leadership principles.
Vision for Effective Leadership Guiding Principles
RECOGNISING the different types of public leadership that exist in Fiji at all levels of society and that such leadership is ultimately about service to the people of Fiji, the communities they belong to, and what is in their best interests;
ACKNOWLEDGING the conduct standards that are set out under subsection 156(2) of the Constitution for holders of high public office, and the measures thatneed to be taken under law to enforce these standards and the Key Principles for Good Leadership adopted by Pacific Island Forum Leaders as being relevant for Fiji’s national leaders; The People, through this Charter, identify the following qualities as being the most desirable of any person who seeks and exercises a public leadership role in Fiji:
FIJI: THE STATE OF THE NATION AND THE ECONOMY
Chapter 8: Effective Leadership in Fiji
The previous pages summarise the change agenda facing Fiji. Clearly, there is a lot to be done to restore good governance, end the ‘coup culture’, forge a new agreement on national identity and the national interest, get the economy growing robustly again, eradicate poverty, and deal with all of the related issues. This is not a short term or easy task: it will take much perseverance over many years in following a steady course. Who is to plan and organise all of this work and keep all those involved strongly motivated and on course to finish the task?
This is the role of Fiji’s leaders, not only politicians but also traditional, civic, religious, community, professional, and business leaders right across the nation. Leadership is the ‘magic’ ingredient that unites the diverse talents of many different people by communicating an inclusive vision for the future in which all want to join as followers, and which motivates, empowers and uplifts them, so that they are fully engaged in pursuing the vision until it is realised.
Leadership occurs at many levels, both within Government and outside of it. Public leadership roles encompass the political level, the private sector, civil society and the churches and religious organisations, and also other levels of leadership including the traditional chiefly leadership at community level.
Fiji is standing at a crossroad in terms of how leaders might best contribute to taking Fiji forward. Although there is no longer a clearly accepted view of the way that leaders should behave within Fiji society, the effectiveness of leadership is crucial at every level of that society.
The NCBBF (National Committee for Building a Better Fiji) believes political leadership at the national level to be one area of real weakness in Fiji. It is time to develop a leadership model that puts the national interest before self interest, or before the interest of a specific single community. We need to establish a national vision through the Peoples Charter and work to build national unity.
All too often in the past the style of leadership in Fiji has been transactional i.e. ‘what is in it for me?’ What Fiji desperately needs is a transformational style of leadership — to transform societal attitudes and move Fiji in the completely new direction represented by the Peoples Charter.
This is not to forget also that the lives of ordinary people are most affected by leadership at the local level, where people live as families and communities. The leadership role of women also needs particular consideration. While changes in leadership styles are really dependent on changes in attitudes, there are measures which can be taken to encourage this change. Public education needs to be part of that.
A Code of Conduct for holders of high public office (as required by the Constitution), including local government office holders, is badly needed to regulate the conduct of national leaders. So is training for leaders at all levels. Increased dialogue and measures that reward good leadership also require further examination.
Leaders at every level of society must be equally adept in three quite different skills.
First, they must have a clear intellectual understanding of the job that needs to be done. The vision and goals that they articulate must be well grounded in evidence-based theory and empirical research and clearly thought through, to ensure that the policies they advocate are compatible with each other, consistent over time and credible. A leader maintains his or her credibility by only promising what he or she can do and then by always doing what was promised.
Second, a leader must also learn to be a good manager. Leaders must know how to raise funds, manage money and resources and above all, be good at managing people in sensitive but directed ways. Leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King spent a lot of their time managing the movements they led.
Third, a leader must learn how to behave as a good leader should. There are both moral and psychological dimensions to this aspect of leadership. To attract and keep followers, a leader must be capable of securing and holding their trust. This means that a leader must be trustworthy.
A leader must also maintain personal integrity, which implies complete honesty, openness and a consistent moral stance. And, because it is expected that a leader will always ‘go first’, a leader must become accustomed to disclosing his or her values and thoughts, before anyone else does. ‘Self disclosure’, to use the psychological term, can be risky because a leader may expose himself or herself to ridicule and scorn. So a leader must have the moral courage to reveal and defend his or her convictions.
Because the work agenda is so long, a leader in Fiji must also learn how to prioritise tasks and the leader’s own time in a sensible way. When it is impossible to achieve everything simultaneously, the sequencing of tasks becomes very important. It is sometimes necessary to balance objectives against each other, achieving a little bit in several areas at once rather than everything in one area but nothing anywhere else.
And to the extent that a leader is operating in a political environment it will also be important to learn how to manage other people’s expectations about the speed with which progress can be achieved. Arriving at the right balance between setting targets that are ambitious but realisable, and targets that are inspirational but probably not realistic, may be the most difficult challenge of all.