Effective transformational and resonant leadership is a vocation of service and stewardship that requires leaders to regularly take time to look at their organisation and leadership style with a clean sheet of paper and to ask hard questions of the person in the mirror. To take stock.
Last Thursday at the fourth edition of Sport Integrity Week, a global initiative of Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) hosted a webinar entitled “Financial Transparency and Integrity What is it? Why is it important?” as part of their hosting partnership commitment with SIGA.
The webinar was well received, there were 116 participants. The information and webinar link was widely circulated. The one disappointment is that more sport leaders didn’t seize the opportunity to take stock.
One may ask why given that everyone including the media and diverse stakeholders in and outside of sport over the years have made the issue of a perceived lack of integrity, and poor governance in sport leadership and administration, the headline talking point. I may be bold to say, not for the first time, that sport does not exist in a vacuum from the rest of society. Sport reflects society. It’s the same thing in all other aspects of national life be it politics, business or otherwise. There is a general reluctance to address the facts and the truth and to take responsibility and accountability for the solutions.
We enjoy the gossip, pointing fingers and casting blame but when it comes time to “Bell the Cat” it’s “a horse of a different colour”.
Last Thursday, Nathaniel “Natty” James got his first goal at senior level for the national side. James scored the winning goal against Curacao in the opening match of Trinidad and Tobago’s 2023/24 CONCACAF Nations League A campaign at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, Port-of-Spain. As he celebrated his goal in the 87th minute, James, took off his shirt to reveal this message “RIP Kaylon Jacob...stop the violence in La Horquetta”.
After the match, James explained, “It was just a tribute to my friend who passed away due to gun violence in La Horquetta. I just wanted to dedicate the goal to him. Jacob was from my community. It was about me showing love. It was a big moment for my community because there has been a lot of violence in La Horquetta these days.
“It was just basically a message to everyone. We need to come together as a community and as a country and just be one with each other and live in harmony.”
The 19-year-old used his platform to show courage and leadership to send a sobering message about gun violence. How many elected and appointed sport leaders do the opposite and use their platform only for self-interest and self-aggrandisement, privilege and entitlement? The feeling of injustice is enormous within the society. Fear stalks the land. People’s hearts are hurting.
However, let’s not forget sport mirrors life. Sport leaders reflect leaders and leadership in all other areas of life. No matter how talented and successful a leader you are, you will make mistakes. You will develop bad habits. Taking stock is important and a key success factor.
Gun violence is a crisis. When there is a crisis, you have to show people you really care and that you are taking care of their concerns. As leaders do our words and actions reflect what people are feeling?