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Leadership lessons from Fiji

Dear Editor:I recently ran across this post from a friend in Fiji that I feel should be shared.Leadership in Fiji: vakaturaga. To be or to act in a way that befits a chief means doing so whether one is or is not a chief by birth. Those who are vakaturaga, out of respect, behave toward others as if they were persons of importance, and, knowing their place in society, they fulfill their traditional (and moral/ethical) obligations to those above them, below them and at the same status level.Vakarokoroko and loloma are profound concepts. Though they prescribe a set of manners or actions, they are in essence descriptions of feelings. One respects the land and the people and the tradition that govern both; to behave in this way is to act considerately toward others, treating them as equal or superior to oneself, with deference and humility. One always recognizes others and has feelings for them, consulting with others before proceeding to take action that might affect them. One follows those who have attained one’s respect, and in this way compliance is not obedience – speaking softly, keeping a distance from those one venerates, feeling deeply for others and being humble in their presence.Respect for others leads to lomoma – one is ready to help and serve others. While exercising authority in a time of crisis, it is done in a dignified and composed way, maintaining both self-respect and respect for others. To possess loloma is to recognize all persons as worthy of honor, care and kindness. Solidarity is the aim, caring for others the means. In this light leadership is an individual trait and is exercised through presence, not through a show of authority.Are our leaders doing this?Jim AtchisonBasalt