Leading to Bring Out the Best in Others
The demands of the era of globalization edge their way to the top of discussions on economics and politics, and when it comes to discussions about leadership, the point ranks just a high.
"The paradox of globalization is that it limits the role of governments and yet it makes good governance more important than ever," said Ong Keng Yong, Singapore's Ambassador at Large for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former ASEAN Secretary-General.
Speaking as part of the Asia Leadership Center's Eminent Leaders Lecture Series, Ambassador Ong addressed the topic "Leadership and Youth: Bringing Out the Best in People" in which he drew on his experiences in ASEAN to encourage UC students toward good leadership in the emerging era.
He said that overall, good leadership requires discipline, diligence and dedication and he touched upon the qualities seen in effective leaders. In addition to acting as a team player and thinking strategically, a leader must possess knowledge, honesty, sincerity and transparency.
"Different individuals and communities would require different ways of communication to bring out the best in people," he said, though noted that these qualities have worked best in the situations where he has worked.
As ASEAN Secretary-General, he found it important to understand how ASEAN operates within the region and how it promotes its regional identity. Adding to this quality of knowledge, he said leaders need to be free from corruption and trustworthy to the people they represent.
When working with their counterparts, he said, it is most effective if leaders encourage a decision-making process that is clear to all participants and stakeholders and establishes an environment centered on teamwork and partnerships. This includes communicating a strategic plan that looks ahead to the future.
"Minor issues from day to day will prevail, but you must look at the big picture," he said, which includes foresight and planning.
Above all, a leader must be composed and committed, adhering to the law and fostering societal growth.
These key qualities apply not only to leadership in general, but to the leadership in ASEAN. For the future of ASEAN to remain strong, he said, there needs to be more than a high GDP and positive socio-economic indicators but also strong leadership. This leadership not only lies in the hands of politicians, but includes people from all sectors of society and places great importance in leaders from the younger generation. These people will establish a common identity, belief and purpose that will take ASEAN nations into the future, he said.
Ambassador Ong also updated the students on the progress ASEAN leadership has made in establishing a plan for an ASEAN Economic Community to be implemented by 2015 and pursuing a higher standard of human rights throughout the region.