TUN DR MAHATHIR: Reject leaders who resort to unethical ways
Aspiring leaders resorting to unethical ways and even violence to become a leader should be rejected outright, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former Prime Minister said anyone wanting to be a leader could try to acquire the right qualities but he may not succeed.
“How he handles his failure will demonstrate whether he really has the qualities,” he told an undergraduate conference here today.
Dr Mahathir said: “There are perhaps a 1,000 people in Malaysia with good leadership qualities but they are never going to make it simply because the circumstances are not propitious for them, he said.
On the other hand, he said, there may be people with poor leadership qualities but they may become leaders because leadership appears to be thrust upon them.
Dr Mahathir outlined seven attributes of a good leader. They are:
i. A good leader may not be humble but at least he should not be boastful.
ii. He must be prepared to accept responsibilities but should not be too pushy and insistent on taking the lead.
iii. He should not seek to blame others for failures but to admit his own culpability. He should not point fingers or seek scapegoats.
iv. He should be modest and not seek praise and glory.
v. He should know how to handle his followers as much as his superiors. He must be sensitive to the sensitivities of others.
vi. He should be willing to do what he expects others to do. He should uphold the slogan of leadership by example.
vii. He should be learned and more intelligent at least by comparison of the people he leads.
Dr Mahathir said a leader must have ideas, ideas on the direction he leads, ideas on the things that he and his followers must do or achieve and ideas on the improvements of their well-being and their surroundings.
Equally important he must know how to make his ideas become realities, he said.
He said a leader must be aware of the needs and desires of his people, to evaluate them, to direct them in the proper direction and to plan and execute together with his followers the objectives successfully.
“Good leadership is obviously very important. We cannot always identify the good leaders early enough so that we choose the right one. The German people who chose HItler did not know what kind of leader he would turn out to be.
“On the other hand, leaders who turned out to be good had great difficulty in winning the support of people initially. Even the Prophet of Islam was stoned by the people of Taif when he started preaching the religion of Islam,” he said.
He said the rise and fall of great nations and almost invariably the rise was due to good leadership.
“When the leaders are incompetent, the countries would fall. The people may be the same, the background and the wealth and resources may be the same, but when leaders are incompetent or just plain bad, then great nations, even great empires can fall,” said Dr Mahathir who was prime minister for 22 years.
Dr Mahathir said no matter how people try to show the qualities and characters of a good leader, it would still not guarantee that they would not make mistakes.
“And similarly, no matter how much we learn about the qualities which make a good leader, it is still possible for us to choose the wrong one,” he added.
source : The star