By Chandra Jayaratne –
Citizen Silva in the Sunday Times column “Monthly Musings” titled, ‘Discipline, teamwork and motivation’, refers to the speech made by the President at the Military Academy in Diyatalawa, where he was chief guest at the passing out parade of the army’s newly commissioned officers. The President had felt it important to remind the newly graduated officers that having a very high degree of discipline is one of the most important aspects of a military officer’s life. He had also pointed out that for an officer to succeed, no matter how capable or skilled they are as individuals, they will not be able to succeed without the support of others.
Citizen Silva then goes on to summarise the advice that our President gave these future military leaders, was simply this: “Discipline yourself, mould a great team and inspire your subordinates. Once you have mastered these tenets, people will naturally follow you.
And this is what we expected from our President when he was elected into office in November 2019. Here was a disciplined military officer who would assemble a capable and disciplined team — and then inspire them (and us) to achieve great things for our country”.
How come the critical core leadership values expected by the President ( and even by the civil society and citizens of Sri Lanka) did not refer to the following Core Values expected of future leaders of this disciplined, effectively team working guardians of our nation’s security, territorial integrity and prosperity of Mother Lanka:
1. Abide by, uphold and respect at all times the Rule of Law, Justice and Democratic Rights embedded in the Constitution and Statues
2. Strictly adhere to the Oath of Office and the Code of Military Conduct and Ethics
3. Be conscious of the long term vision and develop the ability to think of long term goals validating all decisions taken daily, being conscious of the risks and sensitivities associated with such decisions in the longer term by way of possible implications and outcomes
4. Be Professionals and take decisions based only on the best available information, knowledge, skills, experiences (learning lessons from success and failures of the past), after listening to the voices of best practice advice by superiors and wiser counsel
5. Be selfless in service and ensure that all actions are respectful of others, fair, reasonable and are taken upholding, equity, equality and without prejudice by any persons or segments of society
6. Practice integrity and honesty and take positive corrective action against corruption and non compliance with laws and regulations irrespective of status and position
7. Commitment to duty, fulfill obligations and accountability of office and seek excellence in outcomes and never be satisfied with the second best
Citizens live in hope that these Core Values will be upheld not only by the newly enlisted Officer Cadets but by all services personnel now holding key governance positions in this country whilst in service or post retirement.