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25.06.2019 Feature Article

A Leader Must Have A Good Reputation

A Leader Must Have A Good Reputation

Serpents have built up a fearful reputation that is difficult to dislodge. Deep fear of snakes stems from their reputation for aggression, speed, venom toxicity. The reputation of snakes also comes from stories and legends that have been passed down from generation to generation. There are many stories and legends about the black mamba, which give it an awesome and fearsome reputation. Some people claim that the black mamba can bite its tail to make a hoop, so that it will be able to roll down a mountain. As the mamba gets to the bottom of the mountain, it straightens its body out like a missile and attacks at high speed! You wouldn't want to meet one of those.

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches,

Proverbs 22:1

The majority of snakes are either non-venomous or possess venom that is not harmful to humans. A snake only bites a person when threatened or alarmed. There are more serious injuries associated with using a chair than there are from snakes. Horses kill more people than snakes do and yet horse riding remains a favourite pastime. Can you believe that statistically more people are killed by bee-stings than by snakes?

Serpents are masters at generating a fearful reputation. Snakes basically have a reputation of being killing machines. The general public simply views a snake as a dangerous creature that must be killed. Being fearful of something that has the potential to harm you is quite normal. Being afraid of snakes is perfectly natural and shows the fearful reputation snakes have acquired.

Actually, only seven per cent of reported snake bites are due to accidentally being bitten. The major causes of snakebites are the following: trying to kill the snake; trying to catch the snake; trying to move the snake; trying to handle the snake and harassing the animal. So you can see that very few people are actually accidentally bitten by snakes.

Another story about the black mamba claims that it has such high intelligence, enabling it to plot an attack on humans. It is said to ambush a car by waiting along the road. The black mamba will then coil itself around the wheel of the automobile to strike at the driver when he gets home. Another popular story claims that the black mamba can balance its entire body at the tip of its tail.

When the black mamba is cornered, it will stand its ground and display incredible aggressive behaviour. A group of people is usually required to kill it, as it is quite fast and agile, striking in all directions at the same time. People are known to have died within twenty minutes of being bitten by a black mamba. I assure you, you would not want to meet one of these black mambas!

But did you know that bees kill more people than snakes every year? Did you know that horses kill more people than snakes but somehow do not inspire such fear and terror in human beings? Such is the power of a reputation, whether good or bad!

It is important to build up a good reputation by building up a history of accomplishments. You must generate faith in your followers by doing the things you say you will do. No matter how the statistics put it, snakes have a strong history of killing accomplishments. That is why they are feared! A recent study reveals that 5million people in the world are bitten each year by snakes. Of those 40,000 die. In India alone, 15,000 die every year from snake bites. These facts would inspire fear in anyone.

Do not be like the many politicians who have built up a reputation of pretence, corruption and wickedness. They have built up a reputation of promising things they cannot and will not do.

King David's reputation was built on solid achievements that he had chalked. He was the one who had killed Goliath the giant. No one could take that away from him. “And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousand” (1 Samuel 18:6- 7)

Be a man of your word and you will build a good reputation for doing what you said you would do. When you raise money, make sure you use it for what you said you would. If you said you would have a conference, make sure that you have it. If you said you would build a new office make sure that you build it. Do what you said you would do and build for yourself a strong reputation.

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By Dag Heward-Mills

Dag Heward-Mills
Dag Heward-Mills, © 2019

This author has authored 103 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: DagHewardMills

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