Respectful Leadership - Listening is a KeyNov 12, 2006
“Acting on Conscience – - How Can We Responsibly Mix Law, Religion and Politics?”
A book by Frank Brennan
Well may you ask!
A review of this book by Roy Williams in the Weekend Australian “Review”, November 4-5 2006, explores Frank’s thesis that conscience voting – where MPs can vote on their most strongly held beliefs – occurs too rarely in public affairs.
Roy goes on to summarise Frank: “The way to a more civil and truthful democracy, he argues, is to afford greater respect to the primacy of individual conscience.”
Roy takes us through Frank’s views on religion – “Frank would like greater tolerance of religious discourse … where people of faith speak out boldly but respectfully on pressing issues.”
And “judges with strong religious beliefs must sometimes walk the fine line.”
Although Roy does not agree with all Frank’s contentions, he concludes by stating that Frank would endorse John F Kennedy’s words in “Profiles of Courage”:
“[When] party and officeholder differ as to how the national interest is to be served, we must place first the responsibility we owe not to our party or even to our consitituents but to our individual consciences.”
Putting this in the context of Social Responsibility - the responsibility of an organisation to all its stakeholders - we see that the consciences of all these people can play a great part in the organisations’ governance and future direction, if only they were given a say and be appreciated for it. From those who clean the bathrooms when everyone else is gone, to those who only participate from the boardroom, and everyone in between, there are valid views and wisdom on the best way forward for the organisation.
Wouldn’t it be good - indeed respectful - leadership to listen and give respect to all these consciences, giving them the opportunity to “speak out boldly but respectfully on pressing issues”? And to take them into account when making decisions?
Then everyone would have a stake in the outcomes, making the organisation's long-term success assured.
What a wonderful asset to any organisation!
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