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CREDIBILITY: LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE



















Two experts on the subject of

LEADERSHIP,

James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, who conducted a survey for their book Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It, say that the main thing that matters is honesty.

The importance of honesty was ranked at 86%. Forward-looking was second (71%), followed by inspiring (68%), competent (58%), fair (49%), supportive (46%), broad-minded (41%), intelligent (38%) straightforward (34%) courageous (33%), dependable (32%), cooperative (30%), imaginative (28%), caring (27%), mature (14%), determined (13%), ambitious (10%), loyal (10%) self-controlled (5%) and independent (5%).

Credibility matters most

The country’s new administration must be given a chance to prove itself by delivering what has been promised.

YOU can’t blame Malaysians for being such sceptics. We’ve been there and been done in too many times to continue swallowing anything that is dished out.

I’m sure the new Prime Minister was already aware of the dubiety even before the marvellous concept of 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now was coined.

The slogan is a lofty one, especially when there is still so much resentment against the ruling Barisan Nasional Government.

It’s obvious that the results of four out of the five past by-elections reflect the people’s lingering mistrust of the party that has been in power for 51 years. That’s the zeitgeist, whether the Barisan likes it or not.

But still, in all fairness, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should be given the chance as well as the benefit of the doubt.

If his 1Malaysia website is a yardstick of sincerity to bring about meaningful change, there is hope for the future – in spite of the all the venom that has been spewed on him by the opposition.

The site provides a free and open forum to discuss matters that deeply affect all Malaysians. So far, the response has been good. There has been wide feedback, both positive and negative.

It also offers Malaysians a window to observe a side of Najib that has not been revealed in the past, as seen by his blog postings on the values he believes in and hopes to promote.

Although some have questioned the inclusion of personalities perceived to be tainted in his new Cabinet, the PM has shown that he is firmly in the driving seat.

He has promised that it will no longer be a case of a government taking the people for granted, and has correctly placed unity, economic recovery and building long-term prosperity as the priorities of his administration.

The problem is, all previous premiers too, started off by pledging a more transparent and accountable government and promised to do more for the people.

As such, he cannot expect the people to wholeheartedly give their trust to him. He can only expect them to lend it to him.

Ultimately, the soul of any leadership will be judged by its credibility.

Leaders are evaluated on the basis of their words matching their deeds. Their personal integrity and soundness of character determine the trust and faith of followers.

What Malaysians want in a leader is someone who recognises their right to deserve a better deal and accept their right to demand it in exchange for support.

But what are the traits expected of leaders?

Two experts on the subject, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, who conducted a survey for their book Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It, say that the main thing that matters is honesty.

The importance of honesty was ranked at 86%. Forward-looking was second (71%), followed by inspiring (68%), competent (58%), fair (49%), supportive (46%), broad-minded (41%), intelligent (38%) straightforward (34%) courageous (33%), dependable (32%), cooperative (30%), imaginative (28%), caring (27%), mature (14%), determined (13%), ambitious (10%), loyal (10%) self-controlled (5%) and independent (5%)

Kouzes is an executive fellow at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Leavey School of Business in Santa Clara University in the US, while Posner is dean of the school and a professor of leadership at the same university.

They had co-authored several other books, including A Leader’s Legacy, The Leadership Challenge, The Leadership Challenge Planner, and were developers of Leadership Practices Inventory which ministers and top civil servants should perhaps use as a tool to gauge themselves before setting up Key Performance Indicators.

To return to the question of credibility, it’s obvious that the new administration does not have the luxury of time on its side.

As such, the concept of 1Malaysian must first be understood by all ministers in the Cabinet.

They must also be made to undergo a crash course on the philosophy of Servant-Leadership (certainly not the half-hearted version that was bandied about five years ago with the “Work with me, not for me” slogan).

As the PM says, Malaysian ministers must act and speak as leaders representing all ethnic groups instead of being champions of their respective races.

The days of wearing different hats to different parties are long gone.

They must also realise that Malaysians from all racial backgrounds in the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak are listening to what they say and will gauge them accordingly. And they will not wait for the next general election to retaliate.

Most importantly, the Government must also reflect its seriousness in promoting the 1Malaysia concept by ensuring that the correct messages are conveyed by the official broadcast networks, even if 80% of the viewers or listeners come from one ethnic group.

As for newspapers linked to Umno, it’s about time that stringent action is taken against those that continue to carry instigative and seditious reports which threaten racial harmony.

One newspaper seems to be getting away with this for far too long. Why the double standard?

by M. Veera Pandiyan

> Associate Editor M. Veera Pandiyan likes this piece of advice from Peter Drucker: Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
malaysianbar/theStar

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