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Rethinking Leadership

A new leadership concept to reignite public trust in private and public institutions
by

Angeline Goh

on 21 July 2011

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Transcript of Rethinking Leadership

Words associated with a leader strong infallible confident powerful The Old Concept The New Concept Consequences A leader is called to lead his people, instead he focuses on himself He ends up devising ways
to cover up his flaws
and insist on an unrealistic perceived reality
to retain formal authority A call to inspire externally,
yet the call is answered by a self-centred internal focus! Rethinking Leadership The Perils of a
Self-Centred Internal Focus Corporate leaders’ myopic mindset which perpetuate the need for exploitative and myopic short term gains in order to secure not only one’s formal authority but the firms’ authority in the industry Public institutions’ vehement refusal to admit if policies or regulations are malfunctioning and perpetuate policies which will only function in a perceived reality Combination of moral hazard, greed and regulatory lag leads to the catastrophic financial tsunami in 2008. Well, what's wrong with wanting a leader to have those characteristics? What changes should be made to the old concept of leadership? Let's recall what we associated with a leader earlier on... What if a leader was allowed to be the Opposite? I myself am made up of flaws, stitched together with good intentions
-Augusten Burroughs Ambitious enough to seek constant self-improvement By revealing his or her flaws to critics is You might ask, why would a leader do that?
That's equivalent to suicide! Because a true leader knows that... its the only way that he/she will be forced to completely eradicate his weaknesses and therefore win over his/her harshest critics due to constant reminders which will cause him/her to give his/her very best to avoid commiting the same mistakes he/she does not need formal authority
to inspire others or the respect of many especially if one is
humble,
self-aware,
open to criticism and
strives for self-betterment The New Leader How can this transform private institutions? How can this transform
public institutions? In the
post
financial-crisis
era Imagine if a newly-appointed CEO of a financial institution made the following announcement ... “This company strives to provide its customers with the products that matches their needs and not the products that allows us to easily achieve our sales quota.

In my quest for success, I might be misled by the need to demonstrate profits quickly.

If I forget to uphold this crucial tenet at any point of my career, please bring it to my attention to help me become a better leader for you, our company and our customers.” What must the CEO do to overcome cynicism? Be Transparent Change Listen Inspire Don't hide behind a bureacracy Be visible among employees
and subordinates Ask for frank opinions Be receptive Promise employees that their careers will not be jeopardised Act on constructive feedback Don't repeat the same mistake Go Beyond
Lip Service! Employees become motivated and strive for self-betterment as well What Happens? No bonus plans which incentivise short terms gains at the expense of customers will be approved Firm enjoys loyalty from employees and retains top talents A large pool of talents with the right character to choose the next leader from Growth and sustained profitability This will then set the right internal environment to reach out to wary investors again The transformed institution will recognise the need to inform as many investors as possible about the questions they should ask when considering financial products so that they will not fall victim to the greed of Wall Street operated through informational assymmetry Private institutions are thus forced to compete in only one way By providing better products
which serve the needs of customers and they will regain the trust of the investors because they demonstrate that they believe in a long term relationship with investors via revealing their potential flaws and being willing to be held accountable for those flaws Let's now see how this can reform the public institutions... Current problems in
public leadership Detachment
from reality Inability to create real changes Defensiveness
towards feedback What can a
public leader do? Let's return to the previous framework which we used... Be Transparent Listen Change Inspire Engage the ground staff to know the actual reality Seek feedback about your policy design from the people who implement your policies Be willing to accept views different from yours Don't jeopardise the career development of those who speak up Make changes to policy based on ground reality Earn the trust and respect of employees Employees will be willing to inform you of new developments on the ground even in early stages of policy design Policy effectiveness will be maxismised This will then set the right internal environment to re-engage citizens Public institutions will let go of the mindset that it has to appear infallible that seeking feedback to develop its policies means that it will be perceived as a weak institution which does not have all the answers by the people. Public institution will actively seek feedback on adequacy of regulations from concerned citizens and private institutions after recognising that regulatory lag is its main weakness and citizens will be happy to engage in a meaningful debate with the public institutions because they want to be involved in the decisions that will shape their lives. Concluding words... It is easy to be a mediocre leader,
but it takes great courage to be an
exceptional one. but in this times, we need exceptional leadership to regain trust Dare to reveal your flaws and demonstrate a willingness to constantly improve and sustained change would be seen in our institutions Bibliography
Benefiel, Margaret. (2008). The Soul of a Leader.Crossbook Publising. New York
Deutschman, Alan. (2009). Walk the Walk. Penguin Group. New York
Neo, Boon Siong and Geraldine Chen. (2007). Dynamic Governance. World Scientific Publishing. Singapore
Radcliffe, Steve. (2009). Leadership: Plain and Simple. Prentice Hall. Great Britain Having the courage to admit
one's fallibility
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