That Thing About Being The Leader…

Little Ambitions, Big Lessons


One of the things that I realized after being on a self imposed blogging hiatus, is that, I miss it. Like how I miss dancing to the grooves of an R&B tune. Meaning that, it is not necessarily needed, ie blogging, but it provides a needed reprieve. Especially when things are just muddled up, or when the clogging mechanisms in the brain need an overhaul.

Work has been awesome. Awesome in the sense that I feel that I am in the elemental plane of being myself. That part where I feel that I am entitled to work hard and play hard. After being in the frame of tormenting my intentions and soul, to be that superhero trying to save the community, all these years, I am pleased to say, I am just being myself. There are parts and snippets of my working ethics and attitude that needs working on, as observed by some concerned colleagues. But, generally, I am enjoying the flexibility and freedom of being an individual that is not closely restrained by the need to impress.

Leadership Is Not A Game

I attended a leadership course about three weeks back, in my bid to understand and learn all there is to know about being in a leadership capacity. It was the first time I actually attended a formal corporate based leadership course, and I found it to be enthralling. The last time I attended a similar type of course was when I went for my one month trainer course in my national service days. Needless to say, both were enlightening.

Over the past few months, leadership was indeed the main nucleus, by which I was revolving myself around. Having been elected as the captain of my social soccer team was a highlight, but I soon found the rigors of trying to manage players with different levels of commitment and interest to be challenging. Recently, the captain-ship of the team was thrown wide open,through a suggested initiative. I found the whole idea of rotating captain-ship to be a farce and I still hold to that idea. Although I was visibly upset at the manner by which this issue came to fore, I decided to suppress my disappointment, and just accept the fact that maybe, the team had to function without order, to probably make it realize the slumber and stupor by which it is heading towards to. The fact that the players were responding to the initiative with zest and enthusiasm, highlighted, that maybe my stint as a captain was dampening them. Just perhaps. But on the other spectrum, I hold the belief that in my capacity as a captain in a team, competing in a competition, it is not in my interest to entertain self glorification. I was rigid, stubborn, clueless at times, emotional and darn right rude at times in my approaches towards some players. And that is still how I will approach captaincy at any levels or team. I find that I will be more at ease playing alongside 10 other willing players who are serious about their game. At the meantime, I do not have the luxury of such. But changing a team’s credo and ethics is not my agenda. I’ve decided to make use of my social team as just an outlet of expression. Nothing more. When I find the suitable alternative where I can utilize myself, I’ll move on. After all, I gather the feeling that most of the other players do not appreciate the magnitude of seriousness in the game. I do. I am not gonna go down the path of dwindling my years of effort, just because, “It’s just another Sunday game.” I have too much respect for the game, to accord it, that kinda nonchalant treatment.

Over the past months or so, I had also, unknowingly tried to galvanize a team of Malay planners within my agency. The intention of gathering a bunch of probable like minded colleagues was to just have a think tank team, where ideas and actions can be optimized. I am not sure if the effort is reaping its desired outcomes, considering the fact that one member fell through the crack, having claimed that he sees no viable productive result, from working with Malays. An insulting reason for me, which however, justified the idiosyncrasies I had associated him with. A couple of colleagues found that working ethics found were not conducive enough for synergies, thus creating preferences when it comes to idea sharing and efforts. It has been, an almost impossible task, to actually motivate individuals with curtained perspectives about each other.

The experience, however, has been priceless. Cause amidst the feedbacks, insinuations, silence, body gestures, Facebook statuses and so forth, I have discovered candidly, that leadership is very much a work in process. It is not a position, but a concerted application of ideals and initiatives. As was told by my trainer, there will be times, when colleagues will not accord you with the much needed respect and room, because there is a space of familiarity in them about you. Thus the incessant small voice within them that judges you and at times, having apprehensions about you. I understood rightfully, what my trainer meant by that. Familiarity breeds contempt. Looking back, I relate clearly that rational with the outcomes gathered from my soccer and work conditions.

I do however, console myself, every now and then, that whatever the outcomes of this experiential lessons in leadership may be, I will emerge as a better individual. Being a Malay, sometimes connote the tags of being properly conducted Muslims where conflicts, misunderstanding and disagreement in ideas are best avoided. Being an Asian, most times connote the tags of, silent revolt, clique forming and avoidance to be the best recourse in dealing with career and life management. All these relations and associations provide me with a very solid yet diverse background by which I can build the foundations of my leadership.

Hopefully, all these storming lessons in leadership will put me in good stead, when I start forming my very own team of players/colleagues. The importance of associations is very important and I am grasping this philosophy slowly but surely. I feel that I no longer need to feel that sense of emotional indebtedness towards anybody blindly. If that feeling does not lead me towards a desired outcome for both, then I see no mutual benefit to be shared in the association.



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