Insight article

Controversial leadership

Within organisations and the community people look to their leaders for guidance. Their messages are often powerful, inspirational and influential. So what happens when your leader communicates a controversial issue? Recently a Parish Priest openly supported and encouraged desperate people in need to steal. However, to ensure his guidance still had moral standings, he suggested these people should only steal from large stores (perhaps those who could afford the loss?). On the news this morning the Priest defended himself by saying that stealing a can of soup was far better than robbery or prostitution and to my surprise, many people wrote in and supported this. Although large businesses can be quite wasteful and perhaps struggle less than their smaller competitors, they are still businesses fighting for growth and their share in the market. Are we right to punish these businesses by encouraging people to steal from them, even if they are desperate? Or is this a bigger issue? Perhaps the Priest’s intention was to get on national television to share the message that we are not doing enough to help the needy people in this country and that large supermarkets have a social responsibility to help them out? Whether he is right or wrong, his message was certainly powerful and provocative and will hopefully encourage more positive rather than negative actions.

Nailia Tasseel