Award should be based on merit

Society needs the right systems, skills and knowledge

By Juliet Rogers,

Juliet Rogers 1 - CopyIn looking at the axiom of this topic, it would be needful for us to first of all, endeavour to inquire about concisely the definition of the word “Award.”

Distinctly put, an award is the public recognition of a laudable achievement and compensation arising therefrom.

Awards are offered primarily to encourage the target group members to give forth their best endeavors. It is a way to increase performance, productivity, good conduct, punctuality, honesty, brotherly or sisterly love, cleanness and any desirous objective via hard work, skill, the application of integrity and other desired traits.

It is undoubtedly true that Sierra Leone is a necropolis for ideologists and emancipators or manumitters. Issac Theophilus Akuna Wallace – Johnson, Lamina Sankoh, Constance Agatha Cummings – John, Emmanuel Cole, Asana Beya, Sengbeh Pieh, Alimamy Rassin, Bai Bureh, Manga Sewa, Kisimi Kamara, Christian Keili, Olu Gordon, Saaba Tumoe et cetera – are few of the many heroes of Sierra Leone that sacrificed their lives for an emancipated and multicultural Sierra Leone.

Photo by Tom Grimbert

These noteworthy foregone but not buried in oblivion paladins of Sierra Leone were discomfited by the system we have been led and misled to think is saving us, but rather doing otherwise. Over and above that, the system gravely and inhumanely succeeded in demonizing them so that they never get the honour that they truly deserve for their momentous contributions to Sierra Leone in particular and Africa, in general. No wonder many young and energetic people of today in our continental homeland (Africa to be precise) find it very difficult to see them as role models. The mis-information, mis-education, illusive and the other perilous viruses in the system have corrupted their authentic historical accounts and scores. As the former American attorney and politician, Michael Newbold Castle wrote: “These fallen heroes represent the character of a nation who has a long history of patriotism and honor – and a nation who has fought many battles to keep our country free from threats of terror.”

In the meantime, reflect on these words:

“If you make honoring a community champion a practice on a regular basis – annually, or even monthly – it keeps people thinking about community service all the time. It leads them to consider what is going on in the community, and who is doing work that deserves the award. It may plant the notion that they themselves should be more involved in the community as well.”

Admonition:

The message here is this: the quality of vast numbers of mankind in Sierra Leone is so disgusting and devalued that we now need to come up with a decent system to recognize the exceptional abilities of the few who have demonstrated such abilities or talents as a way to encourage them to go on; and any such system must be based on merit, not of the native system of padi-padiism, tribalism, favoritism, etc. This underscores that our people need to be enlightened to move from our preferred system of favoritism, affiliated business, tribalism and apply the discipline of the merit system that has been shown to make poor nations into prosperous and civilized nations.

Photo by pina messina

Mother Theresa is quoted saying: “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” According to Forbes in 2013, 43% of employees cite a lack of recognition as their reason for quitting.

At present, only few big shots are awarded laurels, and not necessarily via a decent and acceptable based system – whereas, the vast majority of mankind need to be motivated and encouraged. Something now rare and very uncommon.

But the system for implementing any such decision, for it to be successful must be based on merit, if it is to be considered a decent way of accomplishing any worthwhile goal. “A merit system’s underlying values include a strong sense of fairness. That sense of fairness is realized not only through due process protections and open competition, but also by establishing that better performance deserves greater reward and recognition. Agencies can use their broad, deregulated incentive awards authorities to establish a wide variety of incentive and recognition programs. When rewards are to be distributed, a merit system calls for differences in performance to be the basis for making reward distinctions, rather than other non-merit factors.” (opm.gov: “Merit System Principles and Performance Management.”)

Our people need to change their nation-wrecking attitudes, dishonest tricks and instead, adopt instrumental and decent modern ways that will surely bring progress, prosperity and lasting peace in Sierra Leone. The grassroots need attention, support and encouragement to persuade them to move towards exceptionalism. The best encouragement in this regard, is the merit system that is today underpinning the peace, prosperity, inventiveness, et cetera of every successful nation on Earth. “True appreciation can create an organizational culture in which appreciation and positive energy are the norms rather than the exceptions, a culture in which people feel valued for their work and help those around to do the same. Leading with appreciation creates a positive culture.” (Specialty Food Magazine, May 2006)

Many of our learned and highly placed people are aware of this, but are not putting it to practice. Worse, those who try to put goodness into practice are needlessly objected to, and badmouthed for advocating such reforms. Such opponents profit from our existing favoritism system because Sierra Leone’s indigenous ‘value-system’ is not conducive to nation building. Our value-system prefers the hero-worship, pampering and enjoyment of our despotic leaders. Such system is at the heart of the suffering of our people who are not fortunate to be near our nation-wrecking despots.

Photo by Ashton Mullins

“Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated,” said Robert McNamara, Former American Secretary of Defense.

Not long ago, Entrepreneur.com published an infographic all about why employees quit their jobs. 82% of employees polled report they don’t receive enough recognition. There is nothing like gushing your time and heart into a project just to have it go unnoticed and unrecognized by management. It can make employees question why they worked so hard in the first place, and convince them the grass would be greener somewhere else.

Nations and systems the world over, especially Africa, should incorporate or establish a decent and conducive merit system that will insure that only patriotic and deserving individuals are given awards for their exceptional exhibitions in their mundane endeavours, and not the other way round. If this is done, it will produce many positive impacts in a nation. Some of these positive impacts are:

It can enhance positive ethics in society.

If awards are given based on merit, it must be that the recipients have beyond the possibility of doubts shown good conducts like assiduity, dedication, and many other honorable deeds in the discipline. As a consequence, those who are not awarded but desire to be recipients of such awards in the subsequent time, would endeavour to emulate the ethical attributes of the awardees when the right course is observed.

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It can improve fairness and integrity in public services.

Recipients of these awards based on a good value system, must have shown integrity in many fronts. Thusly, people who desire ardently the awards would vie to emulate the special traits of the awardees by being fair in their various disciplines. “Our merit gains us the esteem of the virtuous – our star that of the public,” reported Francois de Le Rochefoucauld.

🔹It can enhance the growth of knowledge in society.

If an individual is awarded based on meritoriousness as the best nurse in a public hospital, it must be that the individual has not only demonstrated good conducts or ethics, but also he/she must have exhibited unique and acceptable nursing skills and best practice which is a product of acquiring more knowledge in the field. Therefore, nurses that have strong desire for the award, would also take a step forward to acquire knowledge and both soft and technical skills in nursing. Knowledge grows due to the competition.

It can reduce corrupt practices.

From the benefits stated and deliberated above, the recipients and those who hanker after the awards would abstain themselves from corrupt practices, thereby reducing the frequency of corrupt practices in our society. “By merit, not favouritism, said plout “shall we attain our ends.”

In this connection, Proverbs 3:27 states: “Don’t withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it.”

First and foremost, this biblical aphorism may denote that, ‘one should never withhold anything good from those to whom it is due when one is in a position to give it.’ This might refer to accolades or wages that have been earned, to a debt that is due, to tools that have been borrowed.

Again, in a broader perceptive, the passage may communicate that, ‘never should one withhold an appreciation or a kind act from someone who is entitled to it.’ This injunction may be introduced here to warn the uprights against becoming so occupied with their proper relationship with God as to neglect their responsibility towards others. James 4:17 addressed it this way: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. “

Once for all, it’s expected therefore, that society will thrive upon ascending the clarion of growth for the good of all.

The writer, Juliet Rogers, is Societal Engineer, Life & Emotional Intelligence Coach from Sierra Leone. She is based in Freetown.

 

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