“In every tyrant’s heart there springs in the end this poison, that he cannot trust a friend.” –
In previous posts we have discussed the obsession that many potential and actual leaders have with power over others. You may have asked yourself how do these unsuitable people get such control over others? How does an evil person get such influence over the majority of people who are, for the most part neither good or evil, instead just seeking to live.
The answer is that they accumulate records of misdeeds, real or imagined. All the true tyrants that I have had the misfortune to meet over the years have always had a very detailed document trail for every individual that they controlled or wanted to control.
I have said elsewhere that the true leader can avoid these snares by adopting Right Behavior in everything they do. But let us be realistic and acknowledge that leaders with the moral strength to follow Right Behavior are as rare as chickens with teeth.
Most leaders have feet of clay and will therefore be susceptible to having secret files created about them and their misdeeds along with their staff and even board members.
These personal records are always secret or restricted and include any act that the person would never want publicly revealed. Poor results in exams or selection exercises, secret donations to political funds, payoffs from corrupt procurement exercises, forged signatures, sloppy accounting, bribes to get awards, retrospective editing of public records to favor one view, etc. etc.
The list of recorded deeds is as extensive as the actions of their intended victims. The Tyrant always hints to their victims that they have more information in these secret records than they actually have and that it is of a more serious nature than it really is. The victim’s own guilt and fear then does the rest and the Tyrant has a puppet to do their corrupt bidding. I have even seen Prime Ministers dance like trained puppies to the tune of corrupt people, so don’t make the mistake of assuming this phenomena is limited in any way.
How can we overcome such corrupt practices?
A good start is for a board to implement an open record system with independent checks by external information auditors to see that all personal records are verified as being true records and limited only to information that is relevant to the operation of the organization.
There are very few things that need to be “secret” in an organization and secrecy leads to misuse of the authority in any organizational structure.
While we are talking about introducing external information auditors I will remark that these external teams can perform valuable services to make sure of good governance and they should (in my opinion) be mandatory, in the same way that financial audits are in most regulatory frameworks.
As leaders and aspiring leaders let us act to remove the potential for misuse and abuse of information and power within our organizations, so we can all work towards to the true advancement of our institutions and our societies. Free from the rule of Tyrants who devalue everything they touch.