Svitlana Matvienko, Chairwoman of the Board of the Agency for Legislative Initiatives, on Hromadske Radio

On Hromadske Radio Svitlana Matvienko, Chairwoman of the Board of the Agency for Legislative Initiatives, focused on the question of responsible leadership, its essential features, and the efficiency of leader’s influence.

Who is a responsible leader?

The very theme of responsible leadership came from business – large corporations launched the process that now fully applies to all areas. A responsible leader is a person who clearly sets an ambitious goal and as a result achieves certain public good. But it has to be said that he or she adheres to his/her principles. In addition, it worth noting that sometimes losses may exceed the result achieved.

The issue of leadership is a difficult one because in emergency situations people can behave in an unexpected way. Psychologists argue that it is impossible to predict a person’s reaction in a crisis situation. Therefore, under certain circumstances, any person can manifest and discover some unexpected skills. In order to be a leader, it is not necessary to be an extrovert because literature and philosophy clearly demonstrate how introverts influence the course of history with their words and texts. Today, things that public speakers say are often written for them by covert opinion leaders. In the days of pervasive populism, the number of views and likes in social networks have become absolutely unrepresentative.

The case of Ernest Shackleton is often cited as a striking example of responsible leadership. In 1914, Shackleton decided to cross Antarctica via the South Pole, but the expedition ship got caught in an ice trap. Despite all challenges and inhumane conditions, Shackleton did not lose any member of the team. His ability to motivate people, plan the expedition in advance and predict hardships made it possible to save the people from their icy captivity.

Responsible leader is someone who, first of all, sets an ambitious goal; secondly, they are able to plan and take responsibility for consequences; and thirdly, they motivate people till the end. A responsible leader is someone who can weigh all pros and contras so that public good could be obtained with minimum losses.

Global targets work best since development consists in the fulfillment of the most ambitious goals. Quantitative indicators cannot adequately represent the success of a leader because it is not always clear how certain qualitative changes will affect processes in the future.

Lifelong learning and adult education are among trending education strategies. Leaders themselves must keep on growing. When a team develops faster than the leader, a wave of progress will sweep him/her away. However, without visionary concepts, the team may also disappear.

The leader has to learn and help his or her team to improve. The leader’s development will be pointless without corresponding training of the people around them. Each of us can teach a lot of people by passing them some knowledge and skills they will use in their daily work.

Does the leader have to adhere to the rules of ethics?

The Councel of Europe’s statement on unity in diversity appeals to me a lot. A leader who does not respect the fundamental rights of a person is terrifying.

Svitlana also focused on leadership qualities and the ethical culture of Ukrainian MPs as well as explaining how civil society contributed to the development of parliamentarism in Ukraine.

The behavior of MPs should be guided by a code of ethics. Their uncivilized behavior in the session hall constitutes only one aspect of the problem which conceals much wider issues, i.e. the unresolved issue of lobbyism, conflict of interest, what parliamentarians are engaged in when leaving the Verkhovna Rada, in which corporations they can be employed, etc.

Listen to the conversation.

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