The First Lady’s allowance rejection which is a reaction resulting from public judgment is merely reactive ethics that must teach us all a lesson, especially those in leadership position.
However, Proverbs 22:1 – “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favour rather than silver and gold.”
The public court of opinions has passed a swift verdict on Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Mrs. Samira Bawumia with regards to the approved salaries by the Emolument committee. The latest updates that both the first lady and the second lady have both rejected the allowance paid to them and also refunded a total of GHS899,000 each paid to them since 2017.
“The First Lady has also decided not to accept any monies that have been allocated to be paid to her, pursuant to the recommendations of the Ntiamoa-Baidu committee, as approved by Parliament. She is doing this as a purely personal decision, without prejudice to the rights of others, and not to undermine the propriety of the process undertaken by Parliament.”
While I applaud the court of public opinion for compelling the two to refund and proclaim not to receive such funds, this write-up will examine the ethical implications for their actions from a leadership perspective.
One will be quick to say that, they did a good job by deciding to refund the monies paid to them however, the ethical question is, would they have taken the same step if the public had not complained? The decision to refund ends up being a reactive ethical action instead of being a proactive ethical decision which is the most preferred and rewarding.
Was the decision taken to refund payments received one taken in the general interest of the suffering masses or just a mere act to look good in the eyes of the public (control damage)?
The reactive ethical choices made by the first and second lady are choices they deemed ethically right after the external perceptions of the public about the payments were measured by their moral conscience. Thus the internal perceptions they held since January 2017 were influenced by what the general public saw as unacceptable to do. They were aware of the payments for over 4 years and that makes the reactive ethics principle they seek to portray weak and late.
Their proactive ethical principles required that actions are taken ahead of the public outcry and not the one taken after. It requires good judgment and a simple question as to how will the masses feel when they hear I am paid as though I am a minister?
To be ethical, think, and act the same as a leader does not require one to keep mute until the wrong has been done. This approach destroys gains made as a leader and paints and bad picture of the personality involved. It has the tendency to affect morale, the efforts of society, and the general mindset of the right-thinking members of society who have held the personality in high esteem.
The basic principles of ethics and leadership require sincerity and honesty from the leadership who must ensure their actions speak for them always. If one decides to hold on with his or her best ethical card in leadership or politics until a scandal or a low-key incident occurs it becomes difficult to exonerate yourself as a leader.
Truth be told, the actions and decisions of the First lady and Second lady amount to respond to public scrutiny, which compelled them to refund the said payments- This is pure reactive ethics. Leadership must not make the wrong choices before turning around to attempt to correct them. They need to ask ethical questions based on their ethical principles to determine if the decision they are taking are morally and ethically good.
When society passes judgment on the ethical leadership of a leader, it makes the said leader look like a double standard kind of person which may not always be a good judgment by the public.
There is no need to wait for a flopped ethical decision or choice before ethical guidelines are put in place and the right decisions made. Putting your ethical guidelines in place right or making your ethical decisions known and not being part of the unethical decision is the proactive ethics that exonerates leadership and builds the trust of the people in them to the extent that it also wins foes off their preconceived negative conclusions.
Ghanaian politicians, public and private employees, and every one of us must uphold ethical principles and always ensure proactive ethics lead choices and decisions with the larger society in mind.
Ethics can only be proactive and there is nothing like reactive ethics. This action called reactive ethics is just your decision to now comply, does do the right things you should have done from the onset.
Every leader and person who has been given a political appointment must embrace ethics as proactive. This is the best practice that requires reflecting on the action to be taken. This is the only way you can train yourself to be ethical.
Leaders need to know that ethics is all about action and not your behaviour because, given the chance, people will behave the wrong way. Being proactive requires leaders to know what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. If this guides your choices and actions, when a situation arises, there will not be a discussion about your behaviour. To deal with behaviour is an “after the fact” issue, which again falls into the compliance arena.
When leadership is proactive, they set guiding principles and train themselves and everyone around them to follow these principles in dealing with issues as they come. Many Ghanaians, politicians, and leaders are receiving financial resources and payments they do not deserve and should not accept, but they all enjoy the good in collecting such funds. Leadership needs to create a proactive framework to guide decision-making and provide undisputable justifications for the cause and reason behind an action.
The Emoluments Committee in its submissions indicated that the First lady and the Second lady do not merit to be considered as employees of the state under Article 71. That is a clear indication that the committee was faced with the need to take proactive steps to ensure ethics are upheld but they preferred to opt for the egoism ethics which benefits just a few people against the masses.
Leaders must also know that the moment they employ reactive ethics, they give room for several interpretations of their actions and arguments. This can cause some very serious problems to their personality, public perception, and view about them.
Leaders need to be proactive in making ethical choices that “ought to be made prior” and “not made late”. Don’t create an ethics gap only to fill it in later.
When leaders are proactive, it helps them to set the right examples when the masses are not aware. This gives better direction to followers and builds the confidence of others.
The accountability of leadership hinges on doing what is right the first time and repeating it always. This becomes a “modus operandi” for all people within the organization.
We all, as Ghanaians, have lessons to learn from the actions of Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Mrs. Samira Bawumia with regards to the choices they made after the public opinion passed judgment on them. Always “step‐ahead” in your thoughts and performance, think through your internal perceptions of the choices you are making now, and then match them with the external perceptions of the future.
Avoid “step‐behind” decisions which are reactive ethics tactics of attempting to comply. Do not also fall behind in terms of societal expectations of you. Ethic today and now and not later when society complains. Show the way, choose proactive ethics, and make it count in the future in your favour.
Remember Proverbs 22:1 – “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favour rather than silver and gold.”
SOURCE: Ghana24.org–Copyright |Wisdom Hammond -Leadership expert| Republishing this content anywhere without prior permission is a Copyright VIOLATION
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