Leadership and Nation Building by Prof. Datuk Dr. Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman
These are exciting and challenging times for us-students and practitioners in
Government. Shortly after assuming the post of the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia in 2009, Dato’ Seri Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak declared his new philosophy or vision of leadership, to be that of 1 Malaysia, “People First, Performance Now”. It was indeed an inspiring and stirring message, giving us new hopes and fresh expectations of better things to come. The stirring message also evoked memories of the momentous announcement made by Tun Dr. Mahathir, in 1982, to set up a leadership that is Clean Efficient and Trustworthy. It is too early however for us to assess and judge the leadership performance of Dato’ Seri Najib. Many of his policies and programmes are yet to be implemented. We are however proud to note that he is approaching his leadership functions, in a steady systematic and purposeful manner. We can certainly expect many great services and contributions from Dato’ Seri Najib, in the months to follow.
Our nation, Malaysia, has been blessed with many outstanding Prime Ministers.
Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Dr. Mahathir and Tun Abdullah Badawi were excellent leaders in their times. All of them (with the exception of Tun Abdullah at the GE 12) received overwhelming support, approvals, and trust of people, as shown by their abilities to obtain a 2/3 Majority in Parliament, at their respective general elections. The last 5 decades were periods of political stability and social harmony. The Malaysian economy has grown by leaps and bounds. Throughout the 1970’s and the years between 1980 to 2000, the GDP has been growing at the annual rate of 8%, one of the best in the Asian region. All the 5 Prime Ministers have exhibited high moral and ethical conducts. None of them has ever been prosecuted in
court for criminal or other offences. They have retired from their positions with honour and dignity. All of them received the nation’s top honours.
It is therefore significant for us to identify the tasks or functions, that become the
responsibility of the top leadership. The added question being posed is; what has to be performed by a leader, so that he can attain the status of outstanding or great leadership; to be the leader that significantly contribute to nation-building; a leader that deliver the desired results.
Transformational Leadership 4. The philosophy of transformational leadership 1
is most apt and applicable to
societies like Malaysia, where the leaders are committed to nation-building and national development. Transformational leadership is defined as the leadership that involves changing the organization from a current state to a more desirable future state. The leader work hard inspiring and motivating the followers and employees to work for the so-called “higher level goals”, that transcend their immediate self-interests. The dedication and commitment to nation-building and the organization is a moral responsibility. The leader accepts the responsibility of taking the organization, in a new direction. He see the necessity to initiate changes. He knows that if he does not anticipate this changing world, at least to respond to it, he risks allowing the organization to stagnate and ultimately fail. He must therefore be creative, innovative, and responding quickly to new opportunities. He is courageous, and taking the risks (albeit a calculated risk) involved in deciding on new ventures. He adopts the attitude that “if there is a will, then there must be a way”. He is not reckless, for his action is ultimately based on the efforts at strategic thinking and actions. It is never a blind leap into the future. He is a thinking strategist, and not a gambler. The ultimate objective is to be successful, to achieve the high performance targets and the “Performance Now”....
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