I was going to focus my attention for this article on one of the topics of the moment and initiate a debate about the so-called 'art of leadership' and the various traits that establish someone as a great leader.

However, as I only get 500 words to articulate my thoughts I will focus on just one aspect of leadership that I think is severely under-rated and one that has been sadly lacking in recent times humility.

Two recent events help bring this to mind this week: the ongoing debacle over MPs' expenses; and the very public indiscretions of deposed England captain John Terry.

Many of us feel that leadership has been sadly lacking from our elected representatives of late and now, as if to highlight that fact, the three MPs and one lord facing criminal charges over their alleged fraudulent misuse of public money are trying to wriggle out of the situation by using a 17th century law designed to help them do their jobs as our elected representatives not just to protect them after they've been caught out.

For me, their lack of humility is particularly galling. How can they not understand the public anger at their actions? After their blatant exploitation of an admittedly flawed expenses system, here is their chance to 'do the right thing'. And yet they are still trying to worm their way out of the situation.

The John Terry case is somewhat different. He's not stolen from the public purse or broken the law in any way. However, most people would accept he's transgressed morally and therefore you'd assume that at some point he'd face up to the consequences of his actions.

My issue here is not what he's alleged to have done that's not really anybody's business other than those involved but there is a lack of humility from him regarding the whole situation and what's since been going on around him. He was the captain of the England football team, at the forefront of our national game, and as such held one of the most prestigious positions in world sport.

Yet according to the weekend media, it was a pretty unedifying scene that greeted Fabio Capello at their crunch meeting. Like the MPs, not looking to rectify things and bring some dignity back to the situation by accepting responsibility but trying to cling on, come what may. That's not leadership. It's self-interest.

To be a truly great leader in life you must show humility and empathy for what is going on around you. Many will say Terry failed on both counts. But at the end of the day he's just a footballer and you can't expect his moral compass to reflect the demands of a nation. But MPs are a different story and if these four are anything to go by, we have certainly lost our way.

Guy Moreton is director of recruitment practitioner MorePeople.