Living in a developed country that has a system of order and plentiful resources, shields us of the reality that most of humanity faces. It’s not until you travel to a poverty stricken country and witness for yourself, the hunger, violence and disease that signifies a normal life for its inhabitants, that you realize the artificial world in which we live.
While some countries are rich in resources, the income derived from those resources, rarely reaches the poor. The inequalities prevalent in these countries include: unclean water, inadequate medical care, deadly viruses and limited education. Furthermore, the children in these countries are most affected; oftentimes succumbing to death due to hunger and malnutrition.
We have a moral obligation to be more appreciative of the opportunities and resources afforded us, while finding ways to give of ourselves for the greater good of humanity. “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Many people want to be leaders, but the majority of us are followers. We may be good followers in following a good leader, but no leader is perfect. Many people fail to realize that leadership can appear glamorous at times, but it is often lonely, thankless and sometimes filled with pressures to compromise your values and standards.
The essential quality of leadership is credibility. If people don’t trust you, they won’t follow you. The most effective followers understand their role and follow the ideas and beliefs of their leader. However, there is a difference between following an order in which you don’t agree and following one you know is wrong. It is never ethical to carry out a wrong act, no matter who gives you the order or what the consequences may be for not executing the order. If a leader goes against moral practices, you must be willing to stand alone.
Good leaders are created through a never ending process of education, training, experience and self-improvement. Those who lead best, lead by what they do, as well as by what they say. As we rise to leadership positions, our priorities should be finding productive ways to serve people versus our own praise, prestige and power. Although many seek recognition for their accomplishments through these channels, they are poor substitutes for the substance gained in serving someone other than ourselves.