Once you accept a leadership position, one thing is guaranteed—you will be criticised. Having a thin skin and taking things personally as an office holder is a sure recipe for disaster or unending confusion at best.
There are times when you must make a judgment call on the basis of the totality of facts as obtained as best as possible, while at other times you make what you believe to be the best and fairest decision. Either way, you will still attract criticism. It is a thin line.
There will be times when it is absolutely necessary to keep a still tongue and take whatever blows may come. While this may be tough at times in the face of harsh and destructive circumstances, your best bet is to stay calm and carry on.
The world is made up of different human beings with different behaviours. Some people mean well while there are others who are just contentious no matter what. There are those who will be up front and then there are the expert manipulators.
You also have those who will outright lie with a straight face and a cunning heart. But no matter what, as a leader the good comes with the bad. In the end all that may matter is the quantum of courage that can be called upon.
One thing sport can teach is that at times you will have to play hurt. There will be times as a leader when playing hurt is required. The criticism may stink. It may be unfair. It may be callous and public. It may even be humiliating but the leaders’ response must be perceived as measured.
Given that no human is perfect and that, at the end of the day, none is free of shortcomings and weaknesses, patience is really a needed virtue. Did Darren Sammy err in his public criticism of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB)?
I dare say he made a judgment call and given the circumstances it can be said that he did what a leader of a team ought to do—stand up for what he believed to be right.
In the cauldron of battle those on the front line are required to be a different type of leader with a leadership style that rallies the troops. It is different than the leadership style required when leading an institution. There are no easy answers.
What about the WICB president Dave Cameron? His response has come in for criticism. Could he have been a bit bigger in his reaction?
Should he have been more conciliatory notwithstanding the fact that the criticism would have been on a global stage?
There is a saying that until you walk in someone's shoes don't rush to criticise or comment. What I can say is there are lessons—important leadership lessons—that are worth paying attention to. The important question that we all need to address is: “What leadership training and capacity building do we do in T&T and the wider Caribbean?” since it is widely known that most leaders learn on the job.
Is that adequate preparation?
The general view of most people is that there is a leadership deficit. But the reality is that there is an abundance of leadership potential and talent. The pertinent question is what is being done to nurture, develop and fulfil this potential?
• Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC). The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee. Support #10Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund make your donations to any branch of Scotiabank account number 171188.