The success or failure of a nation depends mainly on the quality of leadership. Many nations become great but disappear from the face of the earth without good leadership. Leadership determines the fate of the nations.
An exemplary leader must possess good qualities. A good leader must practise what is good and reject what is bad. A leader must not allow his personal interest to supercede public interest.
Malaysia being a multi ethnic, multi religious and multi-cultural society, the leaders must tread carefully. Leadership depends on a complex interaction of many qualities. Everyone can become a leader but only a few can provide effective leadership. Leadership must be able to lead the people to the right destination and not just follow the footsteps of past leaders. A leader must have the vision to determine new strategies in order to achieve what he has in his mind. A good leader should have a history of marvellous deeds to inspire followers in his absence.
Leadership must be judged from performance and results. In an era of globalisation and rapid advances in information technology, leaders must be knowledgeable, have great thinking skills and must be engaged in lateral and innovative thinking. A leader must be articulate and eloquent so that his vision can be translated into action. A leader must possess the quality to anticipate events instead of just reacting. As a leader one is expected to make instant decision. Decisions can only be made with information and sound knowledge of action. They should also be inspirational and able to strive for greater achievements. They must teach their followers to reach the unreachable, to achieve the unachievable to attain the unattainable.
There are other attributes of leaders, such as the need to be visionary. Vision without action is merely a daydream. Vision and action must travel together to change the world. Therefore what is needed is a visionary leader who is action-orientated. It has often been said that leaders are born. But leaders are not born, they are made.
We must begin to nurture and develop the next generation of leaders in all fields so that there won’t be any problems when a vacuum is created. Leadership must ensure continuity. According to Dr Stephen R. Covey a principle-centred approach to leadership that is based on time-tested values like trust and integrity is the kind of legacy to create and leave behind as it will have sustaining power.
James RatnamEducationist cum Motivator and Socialist