Public leaders are role models to which people look up to. Positive role modelling involves leading by example and adopting behaviour that can inspire and encourage members of society. However, ultimately there are few people who are wholly good or bad. Even though we strive for perfections, humans are imperfect leading to behavioural mistakes. It is how these mistakes are handled which give a leader credibility or disgust. Unfortunately, leaders acknowledging their misbehaviour or mistakes are rare. Self-interest often takes over to protect the reputation gained so slowly. Blame occurs as scape coats are sought. Facts are hidden to be discovered later on, and costly investigations are necessary to uncover the 'truth'.
The media plays a big role in promoting the behaviour of public leadership for both the positive and the negative behaviours. Unfortunately the latter is dominating the news. The media must ensure people receive a more balanced view of public leaders, their positive and negative behaviours or actions. A strong message is sent by leaders who have the ability to acknowledge and admit to mistakes. This positive role modelling can create constructive ripples throughout society that say; it’s ok to stuff up, but you must be able to stand up for it and you are responsible for fixing it.