6/18/2008

Leaders must inspire!

I was a young officer in the civil service working under the first generation leaders. The standard demanded by them was very high. Any report that I submitted must be 100% free from factual or typo error. Not even a comma or full stop in the wrong place was acceptable. I shivered at the thought of sending out a report with a comma or full stop missing. That was the standard set and demanded from the leaders. And we knew what that standard meant. We were inspired to achieve those standards, tough as they were. And for those who could not inspire, or down the line who were not inspired, there was the element of fear. Other than inspiration, there was also the element of punishment. The fear of making mistake and the fear of facing the music. Some will respond to inspiration, some will only respond to fear and punishment. Fast forward today, the Mas Selamat case was not a problem of a missing comma or fullstop. The mistakes were ugly. Imagine what would have happened in those days if such mistakes were to be made? Everyone would be trembling in their pants, maybe wetting as well. Today it was just Jack Neo shooting his movie. And can we expect people to learn from the mistakes? Yes, people will learn, that it is ok to slack, to be complacent, to make mistakes, and to walk away with a slap on the wrist. The message of complacency being acceptable has gone down the line. And what happened at the Magistrate with prisoners in the lockup walking out so easily spoke for itself. If leaders cannot inspire, they better be feared. If leaders cannot inspire, and still want to be nice, that is a recipe for more complacency.

8 comments:

k said...

I don't see anyone who is qualified enough to inspire a highly educated society like Singapore. The fear of losing his/her vested interests is firmly rooted in every Singaporean.

redbean said...

hi k,

welcome to the blog.

if everyone feels the same as you, it is sad. and we paid top dollars, the highest in the world for leaders.

vinyarb said...

hi redbean,

we are indeed paying top dollar, but we're not getting top returns. As a leader, he/she/it needs to be humble enough to know they don't know everything.

If they choose to believe otherwise, what can we peasants do?

redbean said...

hi vinyarb,

welcome to the blog.

i think our leaders know that they do not know everything. that we must give credit to them. but they also know that being paid in millions, they still know more than those that are paid in hundreds and thousands. they are that good. so, they may not know everything, they still know more than the rest.

we just need to believe that they know more and are doing everything for the good of all the nobodies. better count our blessings.

Anonymous said...

today's decision makers or leaders generally govern by virtue of their access to exclusive or restricted knowledge. don't mean to undermine their role in society, i suspect, there are many wise decision makers out there too given the same access to all relevant information. but today's leaders are generally selfish. for instance, it's not uncommon to find people in your workplace withholding job knowledge or vital information from you for fear of losing their rice bowl.

anyone who holds knowledge has a hold or advantage over you. often, it is not that they are wiser or the best decision makers but rather, because of their access to knowledge, it gives them that extra edge over you.

good leaders will want you to be in the know.
with knowledge or transparency, the people can mature and be less dependent on leaders.
with transparency, the people will begin to take control of their own destiny.
with shared knowledge, the role of leadership or dictatorship diminishes.

the "i must decrease that the nobodies must increase" is the axion of a true and selfless leader!

panter92 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
panter92 said...

You are very right. This a prevalent problem that the people is facing, the government is facing, or rather, the country is facing.

The reason for the lost of interest in getting work done in Singapore is because the government heavily overworks the citizens. The people now feel as if they are no longer working for themselves or their family, or even their country. Instead, they fell that they are working for a top power who keeps sucking them up.

The government should better know this. They keep on trying to attract back overseas Singaporeans with financial incentives. How fair is that to those who stayed? Are we less important? Are we taken for granted? Taken for granted that we will always be here...? This may be the reason why there are many Singaporean expatriates living and working overseas. They want financial incentives.. they want money.. that's the only thing that motivates them to come back, if they ever do.. they feel absolutely nothing for Singapore, the very country they were born in.

That's a reason why I am so inspired to join the government. I want to ensure that every Singaporean has a stake in this country, something that they can contribute to and be proud of doing so. Somewhere where they can be sure to be safe, with the strong just, the weak secured, and the peace preserved.

The ministerial pay is besides the point. It is also proven that high pay or the white paper formula does NOT work to attract people who want good for the country to public service. Rather, it attracts opportunists with the high qualifications. These ministers in Singapore now may be working for money and not for Singapore, or the people. Does LKY really look down so much on us Singaporeans? That we are only motivated by money? And only money? This is really disappointing. The true Singaporeans who wants to help and has the ability to but not the paper qualifications are turned away while those who hadn't the ability but has those paper qualifications are accepted and highly paid..

I wish Singapore would change.. if only it could..

Onward Singapore

redbean said...

hi panter2, i have deleted a duplicated post of yours above.

as for people in workplace, yes many are just mugging around for their self interests. i have seen a ceo being incapacitated by his staff who undermined whatever he wants to do and he could do nothing about it. i would have fired those below him if i were him. many are just jokers and being there thru some accidents.

the singapore situation is like the matrix movie machine where everyone is hooked on to it, and being milked. it would not be long. such one sided and unequal formula will break down in times to come.

the govt either work for the people and co exist or work for itself and alienated the people to their own demise.