Thursday August 16, 2018

Gatanela: Your vote, our future in the barangay

IN my previous column published on May 12 in this newspaper, I highlighted the significance of the barangay election today, May 14, by choosing carefully the candidates and voting wisely.

After all, the barangay election is very important than the national elections because barangay officials are the ones who provide frontline services to the residents and the community.

During the campaign period from May 4 up to May 12, all the candidates for the punong barangay and barangay kagawads (councilors) said they are running to serve the people, the community, and the barangay. In short, they want to be the leaders and servants of the residents of the barangay.

Indeed, residents go to their barangay officials when they need social and health services when they have disputes on peace and order, or even when they want to find jobs!

But what does serving the people in the barangay mean? What are the qualities or characteristics of a good servant or leader?

Leadership expert Robert K. Greenleaf gave us the idea of “Servant Leadership.”

The following is a list of five important qualities that servant leaders possess, and can help us assess and evaluate the candidates that we must vote on May 14, 2018 barangay election.

1). Listening. Leaders have traditionally been valued for their communication and decision-making skills. The servant leader seeks to identify the will of a group and helps clarify that will.

2). Empathy. The servant leader strives to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirits.

3). Persuasion. Another characteristic of servant-leaders is a primary reliance on persuasion rather than positional authority in making decisions within an organization. The servant leader seeks to convince others rather than coerce compliance. The servant leader is effective at building consensus within groups.

4). Commitment to the growth of people. Servant leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers. As a result, the servant leader is deeply committed to the growth of each and every individual within the institution.

5). Building community. The servant leader senses that all that is needed to rebuild community as a viable life form for large numbers of people is for enough servant leaders to show the way, not by mass movements, but by each servant leader demonstrating his own unlimited liability for a quite specific community-related group.

Do the candidates for punong barangay and kagawads in your barangay possess these five characteristics of a servant leader?

In the final analysis, it is you and me, and all of us voters, who can make the change for the better in our barangays.

Our votes determine our common future and that of the barangays where we live. Therefore, today, let us not only vote but vote wisely!

(For comments and feedback, please e-mail