Rights/Responsibility Ratio for Leaders Using the 'Beet Test'

The other day I was at a farmer's market stall and I picked up a bunch of beets, when I realised that I needed a bag. So I put the beets down to grab a bag. An older man picked up the last two remaining beet bunches, including the one I'd just picked out. I said to him 'gee, I just was about to put one of those in a bag' and his reply was 'sorry' and he happily trotted off with the two beet bunches in hand. I suddenly had an insight at that moment about the rights and the responsibilities which we all choose to 'see' or not in each situation.

In this case, the man saw his right to take the beets even if I'd already picked one out. I saw the responsibility of being respectful to another person and of inquiring if there were more beets available (and there were)! Now, this is a great example to look at the question of rights vs. responsibilities in the area of leadership and cooperation. In any given situation, we may feel that we have certain rights and we may also feel we have particular responsibilities. I believe a leader is someone who is able to expand their view of responsibilities more broadly and to limit what their see as their rights (except in cases where they may need to use their rights to prevent harm). Therefore, a leader is willing to take action in regard to a chosen responsibility not because they must, but because they choose to do so for the greater good that they feel is important.