Monday, 5 March 2012

Leaders Are Not Born But Created

I born in state full of history Malacca and at that time, I was in a very peaceful and greenery estate called Tanah Merah Estate in Tangkak. Most of the people are Indians and there were few Malays and Chinese people too in the estate. All the people in the estate are very friendly and helping each others in any situation. In the very young age, I am used to mingle with every people and children in the estate as they were very close to me.
After finish my school studies, I continue my degree in Property Management in University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM). While in campus life, I am quite active in few societies such as Integration Society, Indian Cultural Society and Campus Football Association. The important organisation that I involved with was Student Representative Council and was holding an Exco post in the year 2006 until 2007. That was the time I really felt and understood about my leadership qualities and successfully organised few university level and also national level events which involved ministers and high profile people in the society. I am graduated in 2008 and in April 2009, I was offered to be Diplomatic Officer and posted as Assistant Director of Human Resource Management in Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia.
I am having a leadership story about a great leader that inspire me since I was young. Leader and leadership are the two important words in Diplomatic Service and few officers are not fully understand the meaning  and fundamental policies of leadership. Generally leadership can be defined the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. Leadership is organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal. The leader may or may not have any formal authority. Students of leadership have produced theories involving traits, situational interaction, function, behavior, power, vision and values, charisma, and intelligence, among others.
The great leader who inspire me is The Great Mahatma Gandhi from India. His real name is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The phrase “Mahatma” means the great soul which I think a most valuable phrase used for human being. Mohandas Gandhi is considered the father of the Indian independence movement. Mahatma Gandhi spent twenty years in South Africa working to fight discrimination. It was there that he created his concept of satyagraha, a non-violent way of protesting against injustices. While in India, Gandhi's living in simplistic lifestyle, and minimal dress endeared him to the people. He spent years working diligently to both remove British rule from India as well as to better the lives of India's poorest people. Many civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, used Gandhi's concept of non-violent protest as a model for their own struggles.
According to his history, Mohandas Gandhi was the last child of his father Karamchand Gandhi and his father's fourth wife Putlibai. During his young age, Mohandas Gandhi was shy, soft-spoken, and only a mediocre student at school. Although generally an obedient child, at one point Gandhi experimented with few quite bad habits such as eating meat, smoking, and stealing and he later regretted. At age 13, Gandhi married Kasturba who were bore Gandhi four sons and supported Gandhi's endeavors until her death in 1944.
As all know, Gandhi wanted to purify his life by following the concepts of aparigraha (non-possession) and samabhava (equability). Then, when a friend gave him the book, Unto This Last by John Ruskin, Gandhi became excited about the ideals proffered by Ruskin. The book inspired Gandhi to establish a communal living community called Phoenix Settlement just outside of Durban in June 1904. The Settlement was an experiment in communal living, a way to eliminate one's needless possessions and to live in a society where the people there were treated equally without any discrimination. Gandhi moved his newspaper, the Indian Opinion, and its workers to the Phoenix Settlement as well as his own family a bit later. Besides a building for the press, each community member was allotted three acres of land on which to build a dwelling made of corrugated iron. In addition to farming, all members of the community were to be trained and expected to help with the newspaper.
Mahatma Gandhi as a great leader, was having a lot of valuable and inspiring leadership skills which everyone can accept and adopt in developing our own leadership skills. Those appreciatale skills are : -
i)          Integrity is the integration of one’s actions and inner values. A person of integrity is the same on the outside and on the inside. Such an individual can be trusted because he or she never veers from inner values. A leader must have the trust of followers and therefore must apply integrity in their daily actions. Honest dealings, predictable reactions, well-controlled emotions, and harsh outbursts are all signs of integrity. A leader who is centered in integrity will be more approachable by followers. In Diplomatic Service, integrity emphasis to each and every officers as it becomes one of the most important value to ensure the development of the nation.
ii)         Dedication means spending whatever time or energy is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. In a simple language, one should have to spend time by doing profitable things to individual, society and nation.n A leader inspires dedication by example, doing whatever it takes to complete the next step toward the vision. By setting an excellent example, leaders can show followers that there are not doing their tasks according to fixed timing, only opportunities to achieve something great.
iii)       Magnanimity means giving credit where it is due. A magnanimous leader ensures that credit for successes is spread as widely as possible throughout the company. A good leader takes personal responsibility for failures and they won’t have fear to face the failures. This sort of reverse magnanimity helps other people feel good about themselves and draws the team closer together. To spread the fame and take the blame is a hallmark of effective leadership.
iv)       Leaders with humility recognize that they are no better or worse than other members of the team. A humble leader is not self-effacing but rather tries to elevate everyone. It’s much related with teamwork and accepting ideas of others, ‘One head better than one’. Mahatma Gandhi is a role model for Indian leaders, and he pursued a “follower-centric” leadership role.
v)         Openness means being able to listen to new ideas, even if they do not conform to the usual way of thinking. Good leaders are able to suspend judgement while listening to others’ ideas, as well as accept new ways of doing things that someone else thought of. Openness builds mutual respect and trust between leaders and followers, and it also keeps the team well supplied with new ideas that can further its vision.
vi)       Creativity is the ability to think differently, to get outside of the box that constrains solutions and indirectly it may beneficial to other people too. Creativity gives leaders the ability to see things that others have not seen and thus lead followers in new directions.
vii)      Fairness means dealing with others consistently and justly. A leader must check all the facts and hear everyone out before passing judgment. He or she must avoid leaping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence. When people feel they that are being treated fairly, they reward a leader with loyalty and dedication.
viii)     Assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness. Rather, it is the ability to clearly state what one expects so that there will be no misunderstandings. A leader must be assertive to get the desired results. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader. Many leaders have difficulty to ensure the right amount of assertiveness, according to a study in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It seems that being underassertive or overassertive may be the most common weakness among aspiring leaders.
ix)       A sense of humor is vital to avoid tension and boredom. Effective leaders know how to use humor to energize followers. Humor is a form of power that provides some control over the work environment. And simply put, humor fosters good camaraderie. Intrinsic traits such as intelligence, good looks, height and so on are not necessary to become a leader. Anyone can cultivate the proper leadership traits.

At times we can see that leaders also made mistakes in their decision making neither in the big issue nor in the small issue as they are also human being. In my opinion, there are several mistakes that leaders often do. One of it is due to lack of knowledge or information regarding certain issue. The lack of seriousness and very seldom take things for gransted also one of the main mistakes done by leaders. Besides that, at times leaders not steady with the decision made and changes takes place frequently. This situation maybe happened because leaders themselves do not confident with their own decision. Other than that, leaders sometimes made the decisions which not represent the importance of all people or staff.
As all these values was applied by The Great Mahatma Gandhi, the entire world recognise him as a great leader and great soul. His footsteps and quotes should be implemented and strictly followed by civil servants so that they can adopt the valuable leadership skills. Civil Service which has a lot of expectation from public needs to analyse and transform to ensure the development of the nation is according to the expectation, not the own concepts of politicians or even civil servants.
As a conclusion, civil service and leadership are much related and it is a must for every civil servants need to develop leadership skills and transfer the knowledge that one have to subordinates or junior servants to ensure the added values and skills in ourselves and development of the country towards Vision 2020.

References :
  1. Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India by Joseph Lelyveld
  2. Mahatma Gandhi and His Myths : Civil Disobedience, Nonviolence, and Satyagraha in the Real World (Plus Why It's "Gandhi," Not "Ghandi") by Mark Shepard
  3. Mahatma Gandhi : Nonviolent Power in Action by Dennis Dalton
by : Parthipan Periasamy, Sidang F