Leadership ethics versus pragmatism

I was watching ABC’s Q&A last night, and as usual there was much debate about the recent Australian election and how Tony Abbott leader of the opposition was a man of conviction who was bending his beliefs to get into power.

The question is one of pragmatism; doing what it takes to win. But should a leader resort to this. I’m not being bipartisan here, they all do it, but instead illustrating a point about leadership. That is, leaders should express and display clear positions on issues of basic values, and most certainly ethics.

Tom Jefferson said, “In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the tide.”

Leaders must determine their issues they will absolutely not bend for, and those which they will.

In matters of taste, go with the flow, conflicts here are pointless and exemplify stupidity and stubbornness; never good traits to demonstrate.

Never compromise core beliefs or values, and have clear ethical positions. You can’t be a little bit pregnant.

If you have your back to the wall constantly, perhaps your beliefs are too rigid, and you’re combating issues of taste and not principle.

I wonder if our political leaders consider most, if not all, issues those of taste, with few if any principles.