February 28, 2016

The Great Battle

Friday was the big day, the day of the Leadership Challenge. I raised my hand to volunteer to lead faster than my brain had processed the information. I was relieved when everyone decided to lead as more names meant a lower chance of me getting picked from a group of 17 people.

But I guess, I was wrong. I was chosen as 1 of the 3 chosen to lead. While I felt I was lucky and blessed to be given the opportunity to work with my team, the other half of me wanted to withdraw at the last minute. Leading a team in an especially challenging task is not easy and my fear of failure and getting blamed really made me contemplate my decision. The great battle within myself made me felt uneasy.

I decided to push forth and ensured that I take down every single detail of the task to relay the message to my team members later on. I was given up to 30 mins in advanced to read the briefing before returning to class. Once the challenge had begun I made sure all my instructions were relayed correctly to my members.

It was extremely nerve-wracking when you are under time pressure and have to deliver as you do not want to let your team down. Various team members were asking me for decisions to be made which made me felt a huge sense of responsibility. I realised that giving the power to the people is not easy in a time crunch. Sometimes certain decisions have to be carried out to speed up the process rather than getting everyone to come to a consensus. Our team had quite a number of disagreements and after much deliberation and contemplation, I as the leader at times have to decide on what I feel is best for the team.

For instance, back to my e.g. on Singapore, we did not progress from a 3rd world to a 1st world country in a span of 35 years by being indecisive and reaching a consensus. At the end of the day, we were lucky to have a decisive leader with ethics and values that wanted to bring our country forward. To proceed forward, a single leader is more effective in getting things done quickly and progressing quickly compared to a few different parties. For instance, when President Obama proposed the healthcare reform in 2009, it faced much opposition from the Republicans (Cohn, 2010) and the reform was only able to be up and running in 2014. Thus, having a single party in a country certainly allows policies to be passed on quickly and effectively, with less opposition, unlike in a multi-party government.

However, on the other side of the coin, on numerous occasions, a single party government has been known to abuse its power to amass its fortune for its own benefit, neglecting the people. This can be seen in Libya under the leadership of the former Muammar Gaddafi.

Thus, in my opinion, there is a trade-off between giving the power to the people and progress. Giving complete power to the people may take a longer time to come to a decision or no decision might be made at all. On the other hand, being too authoritarian may or may not bring progress to a country or organisation. I believe there should be a balance between one being decisive and one giving the power to the people for an organisation to move forward and progress swiftly. Ethics and values ingrained in a leader are of utmost importance as a leader leads its people. A leader who is blinded by greed and has no morals will certainly bring its people down and not last long. As we lead, we must never forget our conscious, ethics and values. I strongly believe in reading up and building up these areas throughout my life as a leader, so that I will always keep in touch with what is right for the people and the organisation and think of others before myself.

reference : Jonathan Cohn. 2010. What Defunding Health Reform Would Do. [ONLINE]. Available at : https://newrepublic.com/article/80411/what-defunding-health-reform-would-do. [Accessed 23 December 13]

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