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EDITORIAL: Responsibilities with leadership

Australian cricket captain Tim Paine’s fall from grace is a timely reminder of a unique world our leaders, be they political, community, and yes, sporting and artistic, must try to navigate.

Our society demands that anyone winning elevation to a position of significant public influence, must have greater strengths than ability alone.

There is an old adage that being popular, unpopular or armed to the teeth with qualification, is irrelevant. Exceptional leadership ultimately comes down to commanding respect. 

While this assessment seems obvious when considering our politicians, sport commentators and sometimes players themselves have occasionally questioned whether competitors who reach the pinnacle of sport are or should be role models.

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Their argument has been that competitors are simply there to get results for themselves or their franchises – and as free individuals should be able to act as they please away from sporting fields and arenas.

Oh, if it were only that simple. The truth is anyone who puts themselves into a position of public adulation and influence has an obligation to try to overcome failings to set a benchmark in character and behaviour. It reflects the difference between people good at sport and good sportspeople.

I can almost hear the groans and comments such as ‘why can’t we let people be people, warts and all?’ We should – in many circumstances. It is after all, human nature to have strengths and weaknesses.

But we’re talking about highly public roles where there is community expectation across many cultures, sensibilities, sex and age groups. With these roles comes power and influence.

Our leaders can be everything from tough, noisy and belligerent to calm, measured and considered. But overall, they must also be squeaky clean in character and have no crippling skeletons in the cupboard.

Sitting in superstar roles, be it for sport, political influence or philosophical direction for various aspects of society, is as much about setting examples in standards as it is about winning, losing or breaking even.

In Paine’s case, the behaviour of Australian test cricket captains has long generated enormous media attention – such is its historical standing with Australia’s sport-loving public.

Becoming leader of any Australian, state, regional or club team in sport or in the board room, is a privilege.

Famous philosophical French poet Voltaire perhaps best summed it up with the expression ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. 

The entire November 24, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire November 24, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!