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Crisis of leadership

Published:Wednesday | November 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Crisis of leadership


There is a very thin line between being strong, arrogant, and simply paranoid. To be strong is to stand on clear, possibly unpopular principles. To be arrogant is to stand on suspect principles. To be paranoid is to actually be a weakling who's afraid to appear weak, and so behaves irrationally, showing no adherence to logic or principle. Paranoia is the act of living in a state of rejection, and to gravely fear losing credibility and acceptance. The fact is, however, the paranoid believe they have already lost.

Zambian author Mark Henwick says of paranoia: "My paranoia wasn't always right, but just to be on the safe side, I never went to sleep with a clown in the room." Individuals who worry that they are not seen as being smart, for example, fear confirming those suspicions. They never admit that they are wrong, and resist changing course, even when the signs are clear.

When you are in power, the cloud of uncertainty that surrounds paranoia brings you closer to seeming more arrogant than strong. A crocodile's tail is a very dangerous weapon, and you can imagine that it is more so when it is threatened by death. Insert the above into a political situation and a country would find itself in serious crisis - a crisis of leadership.

Charles Evans