Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 20th 2014 Contents In tribute to a man who was a true states-
man, a great leader---Arthur NR Robin-
son---who will always be remembered
for these words "attack with full force",
I want to look at some lessons from his
life that we all can make good use of.
In my last article I discussed why leaders derail
or fall off their careers. I would like now to focus
on what we can do to stay on track.
In my previous article I said that leaders derail
as a result of a failure in character, and that char-
acter is based on authenticity, self management,
humility and courage. Derailment in our careers
is as a result of going to the dark side of these
qualities. ANR Robinson was a leader who por-
trayed these said qualities, but managed to keep
his career on track.
• Authenticity: An authentic leader is someone
who is self aware and genuine, focused and mission
driven, leads from the heart and is concerned
about the long term. Robinson was a leader who
led from a position of character; he did the right
things because it was the right to do, guided by
integrity and compassion.
He was fearless and commanded the respect
and support of the many people who supported
him in his bid to become Prime Minister during
the term of 1986 to 1991, when the National
Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) formed the
Robinson was genuine and committed in his
mission to alleviate the social and economic con-
ditions of the people of T&T. His passion for the
concept of one love among our people was some-
thing he displayed in everything that he did.
• Self management: Frederic Labarthe---the
founder of Self Awareness for Change---and the
Self Managing Leadership facilitator at Oxford
Leadership Academy introduces the main ideas
behind the self managing leadership concept.
"Successful leaders do not compete, they create.
Successful leaders do not control, they empower.
Successful leaders do not force, they influence."
It is about managing self as well.
He was one of the directors who founded and
shaped the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He did not control the people he led, but rather
allowed them to share their ideas and encouraged
them to take ownership. He certainly did not force
people to follow him, what he did was inspire and
guide his followers to do what was beneficial, not
for self, but for country.
• Humility: Robinson was born in a small village
in Tobago but he rose to hold three high political
offices in this country: chairman of the Tobago
House of Assembly (THA), prime minister and
president. He was a scholarship winner, who went
on to pursue studies at Oxford University in Great
These are just a few of the many achievements
of this great son of the soil. However, he never
allowed his success to derail his humility, although
some of his critics may think otherwise.
• Courage: During one of the darkest hours of
this country s history, in 1990, Robinson displayed
true courage when he put country first by his
famous words "attack with full force."
Throughout his life, he displayed the courage
to try; to take initiative and action by making first
attempts, pursuing pioneering efforts and stepping
up to the plate. For example, his dedication for
T&T to achieve economic independence.
There are two elements of courage that he dis-
i. The courage of trust: instilling confidence in
others, letting go of the need to control situations
or outcomes, having faith in people and being
open to direction and change. This was displayed
when he sought to bring trust between the people
of Trinidad and those in Tobago concerning polit-
ii. The courage to tell: having a courageous voice
to raise the issues of our people as political leader
of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR)
in 1986. Consequently, he raised these issues in
a truthful way.
Leaders of today are being scrutinised like never
before and this is as a result of the many previous
leaders who have derailed in their careers. It is
not that these leaders did not have the competence
to do the job, but that they allowed themselves
to move away from their values.
The character traits that I have sought to outline
in this article can serve as the foundation to devel-
oping and sustaining great leadership in life and
business. The choice remains ours to make, whether
we want to lead from the dark side of these traits,
in which case we will most likely derail, or lead
from the positive side.
I had the privilege to serve under his leadership
as a young person and I will always have the utmost
respect for ANR Robinson. He will remain one of
those leaders who was responsible for reinforcing
the values which I am guided by.
Thank you, Sir!
Nashroon Mohammed is a workplace coach
who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
APRIL 20 • 2014 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | SBG 19
A tribute to
In this 1987 photo from the Guardian's archives, then prime minister ANR
Robinson, right, greets Basdeo Panday who was a member of his NAR
Arthur NR Robinson, left, received the NAPF Distinguished Peace Leadership
Award in 2002.
In 1991 Prime Minister ANR Robinson received an honorary doctor of
laws degree at a special convocation ceremony at the Obafemi Awolowo
University, Lle Ife, from Chancellor of the University Alhaj Umaru Sanda
ARTHUR NR ROBINSON
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