Sunday, October 23, 2011

Can the Death of Yueyue Bring More Humanity to Leadership?

Yueyue, which translates as “little joy” in Chinese, is the little toddler who sadly died in hospital after she was run over in the street, not once, but twice and then lay on the ground bleeding while eighteen people walked or cycled by and ignored her pain.
Eventually an elderly lady helped get the little girl out of the road. She said, “I walked up in a hurry to the child and heard her groan. I lifted her up and saw that one of her eyes were closed, that she had tears in her eyes, and she was bleeding from her mouth, nose and the back of her head.”
The shocking incident was caught on CCTV and has stunned millions in China and around the World, with many saying their society, which has enjoyed 30 years of rapid development, is rotten and immoral.
Li Xiangping, a professor of religion at Huadong University, asked “what prompted such a sad phenomenon? Officials? The rich? Or is it our own cold heartedness?”
What’s frightening is that many people in China are hesitant to help people who appear in distress over fears that they will be blamed. High profile law suits have ended up with good Samaritans ordered to pay hefty fines to individuals they sought to help.” Of course the leadership, The Communist Officials, have called for tighter controls over reporting the incident for fear of a public backlash.
How mad is this? But let’s not fool ourselves that this is an incident peculiar to China – as this could have been a story from anywhere in today’s world. The professor from China asked if it is cold heartedness and others ask if it’s the fear of being blamed – but who’s asking if this should even be acceptable, in the slightest.
Those reading this far may be asking, but what has this to do with business and leadership – and the answer is – everything. Leaders set the example and define the values and ethics for others to follow. When values become engrained they become part of our daily lives and our basic moral compass. If one can turn ‘values’ on and off, one set of values for when you’re at work and then another set for when you’re away from work, then you don’t ‘own’ those values and you are simply pretending to enact them through compliance.
One of the core attributes of effective leadership is creating a culture that is owned by the whole organisation – hence the greater the number of effective leaders in the workplace then the greater the change in ‘positive values’, both in and outside the work place.
There are still too many colonial leaders in the business world, living and enacting an outdated form of ‘poor’ leadership – maybe scared of their own fragile weaknesses – and using a form of colonial power to have their way (and hide their inadequacies).
The worst outcome for our future is that these colonial leaders are scared of real talent and ensure that their successors are as weak as they are – ensuring a further generation of inadequate leadership without the backbone to stand up and ‘fight’ for the values the world yearns for.
In my lifetime I have seen amazing progress in technology, medicine and science - all improving our knowledge, our health, and our understanding of the earth and our universe. But sadly as fast as this amazing knowledge has developed – we, the human race, don’t seem to have made much progress from our sad and barbaric past.
If we are going to ignore a child bleeding in the street, whether out of fear or cold heartedness, don’t we all need to take a real good look at our moral compass?

No comments:

Post a Comment