Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Definition of a Leader

Leader, leadership, lead. 

I am being surrounded by this jargon word for the past few days. 

A question was raised to me: How do you define a leader?

Wow.. I always know in my heart, in my head what a leader meant to me, but when I was asked with such a direct question, suddenly I was fumbling for words to answer. I was not able to answer it directly and quickly.

After a short deep breath, I rendered my sketch on what a leader meant to me.

Naturally, a leader is a person who is able to lead a group of people, teams or units. Not simply leading them, but lead them successfully, with integrity, dignity and honesty.

Well, why do I pick this one up as my main point?

There are many great leaders around us.  What matters to me, how these leaders step out from their throne. Do they leave great legacy behind? Do they mold and grow their teams?

I deduce that a leader is a person who lead through respect and integrity. Not from fear nor intimidation.  The foundation of respect always come from the natural expectations from a leader - give clear direction, provide quick and firm decision, care on the welfare of the members, honest and transparent, lead the talk, committed and is not afraid to take the plunge even though at the risk of his/her own position if the course is correct and aligned with the company strategy. 

I admire a leader who inspires, whose leadership legacy is adapted and continue to live in the people who used to be managed by this person.  
We always forget, we continue to learn, even after we have long left the school era.  We continue to learn, to be a better person. Better spouse, better parents, better siblings, better friends... the list continues. 
We learn from a person whom we respect and admire.  
We learn from a person who leaves a battle scar in our life.
We learn from a person who teaches that this world is not perfect. 
We learn from a person who shows us the way that only we can decide whether we want to follow the way, or turn around and choose another path. 

I am over 40 years old. I am still learning. I thought I have learnt all, but I am wrong.  I still encounter with surprises, something that I don't expect to see at this age.  But I do, and I learn. 

I also learn something new about myself. 

I know now that even though I am ambitious and determine, I am not cut to exploit others to reach my destiny. 
I also realize that even though I am offered a gold mine, I was strong enough to turn it down, because it went against my principle and my belief. 

This discovery has also made me acknowledge one thing - I have passed the test of a great temptation and as the result, I am in peace with my inner self.  I am not made of dirty parts and black hearts.  I am indeed a good product of my parents' teaching and upbringing. 

What else do I learn? 

I learn that I am surrounded by friends and family whose trust are on me, and whose respect I earned. I am so pleasantly surprise to know I have impacted so many lives in positive ways, that it humbles me.  If I leave this corporate world today, I am satisfied and happy to tell my son that I've done my best. I also know in the future, if my son crosses their path, he will get the help and assistance, even though I don't ask for it. I firmly believe, it will be given away anyway, for free!! 

As per my previous blog, I mentioned that I have such great leaders in my life, starting from my father, and followed by my many great bosses in my career.  Their influences and my admiration on them have mold me the way I am today. 

So, I am happy to know that I have the same effect and impact on people who have worked with me and for me (of course not all, I do believe too that there are some who wish never see me again.. :)). 

There is a say, a successful battalion is not only due to its commander, it is also because of the great soldiers in the team.  

I have to say the same with me. 

I cannot be a good leader if I don't have a good team who shows great commitment and passion in the job. 

I think in this era, we can no longer manage like a dictator. We are in a developing country, and this sort of management style is near extinction. 

My message to my colleagues, my teams, my friends.  Build up the next generation of great leaders starting with you. 
We instigate change. We build motivation. We champion honesty with the highest level of integrity in delivering our job. We respect each other regardless of differences we may have in our physical appearance or belief. We build a successful team.  We empower and trust them. We continue to develop their career.  We genuinely care about them, with no hidden agenda. Let the team try, and cushion them if they fail.  It is OK to fail if the impact is bearable.  They will learn faster and become better thereafter.
We start this chain reaction with us, and I believe we will see the positive impact it has in us, in the teams and to our country. 

Believe in our own capability.  We are great workers with abundance of great leadership skills. 
Look into us, and start believing in ourselves first, then other will follows. 

When I look at you, I always have positive outlook about you.  

I have computed the way my brain function - always expect the good thing and the best from the people who are around you.  They are human after all. If they make any mistake, forgive them and move on. Don't waste negative energy. It is what it is - a WASTE.  Not worthy of your attention.  It only attracts negative reactions in you - stress, annoyance, sleepless nights. If you cannot shake this negative influence, then walk away, leave! Don't ponder too long. When you are drown with such negativity, you will miss the opportunity that might be right infront of you. 

I still have a long way to go, at least 20 more years of working if God bless me with good health and longevity. My husband did say this to me once when I was in the most difficult moment  "I have been blessed with Miss Smooth so far.  It doesn't mean one moment of spiral that I am running out of it.  Just stick with your principle and your management style, you will get out of this ".  So I listened to this wise man, and indeed I am out of it.  

I determine now then ever, to live up to my principle and hold on it with firmer grip.  I will march forward, to reach my destination successfully, with the bless from Him and with the support from my dear family and my many great friends. 

...... sign off for now.  Cheers! 

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