Letter to TOC

Stephanie Chok

Leaders with integrity, who are service-oriented and fair-minded, are important pillars in any community. They inspire and mobilize efforts towards social change and, through their actions, act as positive role models. I want leaders I can RESPECT to head organizations and institutions – whether they are state institutions, major corporations or civil society organizations.

The new AWARE team orchestrated a takeover of a 24 year-old civil society organization then unconvincingly denied this. Through their actions, the new AWARE team have displayed characteristics that may serve them well in a cut-throat corporate world (not that this is admirable) but are these qualities we wish to emulate, nurture or uphold?

Leaders We Respect are Trustworthy. They speak the truth and are transparent. They do not need to be challenged in order to be honest, they are not defensive when asked questions. We need to trust our leaders.

Leaders We Respect demonstrate Humility. They do not assume that they can do a better job without first serving, learning and gaining wisdom through experience.

Leaders We Respect are Accountable. Accountability is a two-way process and involves openness to being challenged. Courageous leaders with integrity do not balk at being held accountable, they understand the critical role accountability plays in ensuring democratic processes are protected.

Leaders We Respect treat others with Dignity. They don’t dismiss long-term staff without sufficient notice, reasonable grounds or an ounce of gratitude.

Leaders We Respect inspire with Gentle Strength. They understand that power is a gift to be used responsibly, not a commodity they can rob from others who have served to earn it.

Leaders We Respect are Fair and Inclusive. They respect diversity and negotiate fairly. They do not seek to institutionalize discrimination against others in society nor seize control in aggressive, autocratic ways.

Leaders we respect behave in respectful ways to everyone – no exceptions. Let’s stamp out bigotry and choose equality, dignity and respect. 

Save AWARE. Log on to http://we-are-aware.sg.

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