The Measure of a People’s Leader

I was truly touched by Lim Guan Eng’s compassion to victims of a fire which involved the loss of two lives. Report was originally from the Go Malaysian blog.

22 September 2008, Seberang Perai, Penang, telah berlaku satu kebakaran yang melibatkan kehilangan nyawa. Sebanyak 2 orang terkorban dalam kebakaran ini.

Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng telah tiba di tempat kejadian pada petang hari itu. Ketibaan beliau disambut oleh mangsa kebakaran, ramai yang berasa sedih pada ketika itu, begitu juga dengan saudara Lim Guan Eng.

Ramai yang akan kata, ini hanya lakonan politik. Tetapi, ini adalah apa yang diminta oleh rakyat jelata iaitu pemimpin negara meluangkan masa untuk bersama sama dengan rakyat.

Dengan harapan, langkah Lim Guan Eng ini akan mewujudkan satu kesedaran di kalangan pemimpin pemimpin negara yang menganggap diri mereka berada di tahap yang berlainan dengan rakyat jelata!Harap mereka yang hanya duduk di office dengan hawa dingin turun padang supaya kesusahan rakyat dirasai!

Lim Guan Eng!Teruskan Usaha Anda!

We are the leaders we choose – by Marina Mahathir

We need skills to select what is correct and feasible. A good leader will learn from a bad decision and not repeat it, nor ignore problems in the hope that they go away.

OUR choices in life are based on the knowledge we have. When we know little, then we make our choices based on that narrow field of knowledge.

For instance, when I was a child, all my friends and I could think of for our future careers were the usual: doctor, lawyer, teacher, maybe stewardess. None of us knew that such occupations as graphic designer or software engineer or even chief executive officer existed. Of course that was partly because there was not yet a need for such things. Furthermore, at the time, we were still limited by what we thought women could do, despite believing that women could do anything.

But our options are not just about having information but also in our ability to sieve through that information well. For instance, nowadays if we are ill, we will trawl through the Internet to find out more about our symptoms and to ascertain what treatments we should get.

But there is so much information out there that it is easy to be confused.

So we need skills to select what is correct and feasible. And if we are truly smart, we will not rely on just the Internet but use it to point towards people who can tell us more.

It is easy to think of individuals behaving in a particular way depending on what information they have. But do collections of individuals such as organisations or even governments act differently?

Ideally, such groups make decisions based on a consensus among them.

But there is always a leader and the leader often influences the rest of the members to make a decision that he or she prefers. It would be hard for a leader to lead if he or she doesn’t like the decision so there has to be a lot of negotiations before a compromise solution is arrived at.

But what if the leader is no good? What if the leader has limited access to information, relying only on what people tell him and then making decisions based on that? What if the information he gets is all wrong?

There is a good way for a leader to know whether he or she got the wrong information and then made the wrong decision. If they notice that people generally react badly, then the decision is probably wrong.

Sometimes people react badly to a good decision because they can’t understand why that decision was made. But then the leader must explain clearly why such an action needs to be taken.

Unfortunately, sometimes we have leaders who don’t notice or do not know that people are reacting badly.

Or, they might be told that people react badly because they are not so smart.

This gives the leader the idea that they must be correct so they repeat the same mistakes over and over again. People get angrier and angrier, yet the leader seems to think that everything is going fine.

What is worse is when a leader simply does not lead. He is slow to respond to any issue that comes up believing it to be minor and which would simply go away if he ignores it. But like the AIDS epidemic for example, denial or ignorance only helps it spread because nothing will be done to prevent it.

Then when it becomes too big a problem, instead of calmly assessing the issue and then deciding what to do, the leader strikes out with punitive measures. And then literally, strikes out.

Most people will accept any decision a leader makes as long as he can reasonably justify it. But what they won’t accept is when not only is the leader unable to justify the action but also gives reasons that insult the intelligence of people. And it’s never a good idea to insult people you owe your position to.

Thus we find ourselves in a position where we have to watch in horror as mistake after mistake is made. It is a bit like watching a car accident happening and feeling powerless to stop it. Except that it takes a while to realise that in fact you can stop it, and if you don’t, the victim of the accident will actually be you.

It is often said that we are the leaders we choose. The people we put in power are a reflection of ourselves, only better.

So what does it say when the people we put in give a poor image of ourselves? That somehow we are a nation of bumbling fools, stumbling from crisis to crisis without knowing what to do?

“Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation,” said someone called William Arthur Wood.

– The Star



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