Organization and Leadership: Whom Can I Trust?

Since early 2007 I was directly or indirectly drawn into activities intended to forming a representative organization of the Nepalese Diasporas in Canada. Initially there was proper rhetoric, and the intentions were in building an organization founded on grassroots. Over time, however, activities were carried out in such a way that the process took away much required transparency and did not lead to an inspiring situation. The same grassroots people that were supposed to be behind the initiative seemingly felt left-out from the process and could not accept the activities as being their own. At the same time, community leaders are left with hardly any room to remain neutral. In fact, it became unethical to remain aloof and to not investigate into this matter. I am, therefore, attempting to make some critical observations on what went wrong in the process.

For some time, I was intending to keep some distance from this matter as I had enough tasks at hand to give myself an excuse. But then one of my friends phoned from Calgary and passionately told me that we all must get involved in resolving this matter. I promised to do my best in playing a positive role in bringing all concerned friends into a common forum. I thought that even if it may not be possible for all to be in the same side of the issue, it should be possible for all to be in the same hall and to debate from two sides.

Armed with these positive thoughts, I connected to the friend who is leading the ad-hoc committee and also to the other friends who are displeased with the way he is handling the matter. As it appears, the fundamental differences are not over the differences in philosophies on what should be done but on how the entire process was and is being played. Even greater than that is the issue of TRUST. All involved say that trust was broken from the other side. My friend in leadership position could not trust to let things be on anyone’s hands nor do others trust him to be an honorable executioner – a most uninspiring situation to be in when it comes to creating a happy family of friends meant to carry out inspirational work. But I had to give up on my ability to be able to mediate on this matter when the friend in the position of leadership said that he cannot compromise on one core issue, the issue of ad-hoc committee itself, which is at the centre of controversy.

After identifying the trust as being in the core of all issues, I have been attempting to find if there are ways to restore the trust, or, as one friend put it, “create a win-win situation” for all. As I search into the history for some wisdom, I come across Lao Tzu the ancient Chinese philosopher who says: “No trust given, no trust received.” That means the leaders could not exude the required trust on others and in turn others could not trust the leaders. So the trust seems to be broken. That must be the reason when someone said that trust is like a crystal vase that is broken forever once it is shattered. Then again many admired philosophers say that it is possible to rebuild the trust if we learn to trust others and forgive those who have broken our trust. This is possible only to a great leader. “The weak can never forgive; forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”, said Mahatma Gandhi. But unfortunately I could not find such strength being present in the leadership that has been attempting to build this noble organization.

According to some wise people, we as people tend to judge others based on their behaviors and judge ourselves based on our intent. Therefore, it requires a true leader to see a broad picture, embrace all, and bring all people under one umbrella. I cannot see anything other than division to be brought by current approach. Only a new approach in conducting this whole business could bring a trust hat is required to bind all people together. The new approach should be founded by inspiring trust at the grassroots. Compelling trust, which is the highest form of human motivation, seems to be missing here at the moment.

As Neitzche said, “there are no facts but only interpretations.” Only when we realize this bitter truth, we can forgive others with stride and bring trust in an environment where it has gone missing. And, any person inclined to lead must know that leadership is about producing results in a way that it inspires trust. When it is known that the trust has been violated, people will know that those leaders are not their representatives no matter how hard they may claim to represent all or praise their own intentions. May those intending to lead come to senses and realize the need for building trust among us rather than spending their time in designing the next big plot to dismantle “them”!

Leave a Reply