Topic - 4
"To be an effective leader, a public official must maintain the highest ethical and moral standards."
Solution - 4
It is not by mere appointment that a person becomes a leader but by the virtue of his deeds that he casts an influence over people. Besides fulfilling his duties towards people, a leader should be able to inspire them and set the utmost standards of dedication, sincerity, honesty, ethics and morals. I agree with the statement of the author. A public official must maintain the highest possible ethical and moral standards.
The role of a public official is to serve the people who have given him the right to make decisions on their behalf. He is a representative of a large number of people belonging to different sections of the society. They come from varying socio-economic categories and unanimously decide who is to lead them. A public official is thus responsible for safeguarding the interests of all people alike.
Moreover, he is under public scrutiny at every moment. Since people choose him as their representative, he is expected to behave in accordance with their intensions. He cannot easily get away with wrong decisions or unacceptable behavior. There are bound to be discussions and allegations if a public official behaves in an unacceptable manner.
An unscrupulous public official might manage to retain his position but he shall lose the respect people have for him. He is bound to be overthrown once people awaken to his misconduct. Once the image of a leader is tarnished, not only is it difficult for him to come out clean the next time around, it is nearly impossible for him to get rid of the stigma. People might never forgive him. Take for instance Bill Clinton; one immoral act of his is not likely to be forgiven for long.
Moral and ethical conduct of a public official is given utmost value when people judge him. In today's world, where corruption is rampant, people look for a true leader who is sincere towards their interests. If a person is known to be dishonest, people shall never trust him with decisions about their welfare. They would rather choose a person with lesser experience and exposure.
It has been seen that people forgive great leaders their errors of decision but there is no respite for those who err morally. When a leader misbehaves morally, it destroys the trust people have in him. Such damage to a person's demeanor is irreparable. Even if he is forgiven, there shall continue to be doubts in people's minds about the sincerity of such a person.
Where a public official has to mind his conduct, it is equally vital for the public to be understanding towards him. The moral standards of each person are different. Where telling a lie for the betterment of another is forgivable for some, it could classify as a scandalous act for another person. There are many things that leaders have to balance. Thus, there could be measures that some public officials have to take to avoid a grave problem in the future. This could lead to some misunderstandings among people. In such times, people have to be wise enough to support their leader. They have to realize that the same yardstick cannot judge every situation. Thus, where a public official has to maintain the highest moral and ethical standards, people should be discrete while judging their leaders.