ဒီအက္ေဆးကေတာ့ လြန္ခဲ႔တဲ႔ သုံးေလးပတ္က ကၽြန္မအလုပ္က စီအိုအို မစၥတာ ဘရင္း၊ လူမႈဆက္ဆံေရးဒါရိုက္တာ မစၥဒိုင္ယာနာကင္းနဲ႔၊ ျဗိတိသွ်ကိုလံဘီယာ ယူနီဗာစီတီက Clinical ပရိုဖက္ဆာ ဦးမင္းၾကည္တို႔ရဲ႕ ေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ား၏ အရည္အေသြးနဲ႔ ပတ္သက္တဲ႔ အျမင္ေတြကို အက္ေဆးအျဖစ္ ကၽြန္မျပန္ေရးထားတာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ Education for Myanmar Youths မွာလဲ တင္ထားပါတယ္ရွင္။ ေလာေလာဆယ္ေတာ့ ကၽြန္မေရးထားတဲ႔မူရင္းအတိုင္း ေဖာ္ျပထားပါတယ္။ ေနာင္မွ ျမန္မာဘာသာနွင့္ ျပန္လည္ေရးသားမည္ဟု စဥ္းစားထားပါသည္ရွင္။
Persons who rule, guide or inspire others are often perceived as leaders. Throughout the years, people have attempted to define “leader” and “leadership” in many ways. Some believe that leaders are born, not made, while others believe that leaders can be made through proper training and the acquisition of emotional intelligence – self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. I also used to consider only certain people with very high profiles, like Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mother Theresa and Daw Aung San Su Kyi, to be leaders. However, I have come to realize that even ordinary people lead themselves and others in many ways. As Whyte states, our life’s work is not a series of stepping-stones onto which we calmly place our feet, but more like and ocean crossing where there is no path. He also states that there will be times when our leaders and captains cannot be relied on. I believe that from time to time, even when we have been assigned the role of followers, we all have to find our own paths or awaken our inner captaincy to take charge when our leaders have failed to lead.
When I interviewed three individuals whom I considered leaders, I chose subjects of both genders, of different ages, and with varied work experience. I assumed that their views on leadership and leadership styles might have been influenced by their gender, personal experiences, education and training, and organizational culture. I expected to learn about their views on leadership and management, as well as their definitions of leadership. I also wanted to find out how they nurtured leadership in their employees or co-workers, and how they would handle a situation in which the organization’s goal conflicted with their own moral values. I also wanted to know if they thought of themselves as leaders. The first person I interviewed was Bob Breen, the Chief Operations Officer of MDS Metro Diagnostic Services, who spent twenty years in the military before he joined MDS Metro. My second subject was Mr. Min Trevor Kyi, a clinical assistant professor in the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine (School of Rehab Science), and the third leader was Diana King, a director of Communications and Public Relations from MDS Metro Diagnostic Services. I chose these interviewees because all of them are dedicated and highly motivated persons with at least 15 years of leadership experience. I also believe that they have strong organizational and communication skills for building partnerships among co-workers and communities.
In the interview, Mr. Breen said that the training he received in the military was mostly about leadership; therefore, this training helped him lead MDS Metro. He defined leadership as an ability to take the goals of an organization and create an environment that makes all of the people in the organization want to achieve the goals. He also stated that he would create a sense of real ownership of the goal among followers and would stand up front to point out to them that the goal was worth going for. However, he doesn’t believe that pushing people towards the goal is a good leadership skill.
Mr. Kyi defines leadership the ability to make hard decisions and yet be liked by subordinates. He believes that a leader should be able to make the right decision. He was torn when asked what he would do if the organization’s goal conflicted with his moral values. He said that he would try to see the bigger purpose and consider the greater good if he had to make the decision. I think that Mr. Kyi’s leadership style is leaning towards charismatic leadership, as he seems to gather followers through dint of personality and charm, rather than through any form of external power or authority.
In contrast, in case of an ethical conflict, Ms. King said that she would do everything in her power to influence the organization and make sure the organization knew what it was asking her to do and how she was conflicted. Finally, if she could not find a compromise that she could live with, she would leave the organization because that kind of organization would not be one for her to work for. Her leadership style reminds me of the way Johns-Manville handled the asbestos catastrophe. Bill Sells, a manager of Manville for more than 30 years, became aware that his company had been producing deadly chemicals and explosives for a hundred years. When he raised objections, he was criticized by his boss for not being loyal to the organization. However, he convinced his boss that he was the one who was loyal and started to take action by launching a half-million-dollar program to replace or rebuild nearly all the safety equipment in the building.
Taking a very different stance, Mr. Breen said that he would just quit the organization if an ethical conflict arose. He said that he did not have to adjust his values to be in an organization. In addition, he did not mention in the interview that he would make any attempt to make the organization understand why there was an issue for him. I concluded that as a result of being trained in the military, his leadership style is more transactional, based on an assumption that social systems work best with a clear chain of command. He also mentioned in the interview that he would clearly lay out each goal with the plan and possible outcome for his followers. He gave an example of being on a battlefield where a soldier can be shot and killed if things go wrong. As well, in a swinging trapeze example, he pointed out that one would grab another trapeze in order to make a new step. I believe that one could fall and make another attempt. However, there are so many cases in which people do not have another chance, and that could be worse than the void between the swings. Therefore, in the above situation, as a military officer Mr. Breen must have needed to recognize possible negative outcomes, and to try to use a transactional leadership style.
All my interviewees expressed the belief that formal and informal training and mentoring, along with giving employees new projects and chances to make mistakes, learn, and grow, could help in nurturing subordinates; however, Ms. King believes that it not up to the mentor to force someone to consider him/her as a mentor. She believes a good leader is someone who does not use the word “I” and who has a sense of humour. Similarly, Mr. Kyi stated that selflessness, empathy, active imagination, sharing the workload and trusting the employees are some good leadership qualities. In addition, Ms. King stated that giving acknowledgment and recognition to employees who are leading without authority is one of the qualities of a good leader. She asserted that it does not matter, or at least should not matter, whether the leader gets the recognition or the team gets the recognition. This concept reminds me of Heifetz’s suggestion to find partners: the ally and confidant. I believe that finding partners, getting input and contributions from one’s followers and selecting their best ideas, input and contributions, can be helpful in accomplishing the common goal.
As stated above, some believe that leaders are born, not made, while others believe that leaders can be made by offering proper training to bring out emotional intelligence. I believe that leaders can be made; however, some traits such as an out-going personality and enthusiasm need time, practice and a great force to evolve if they are not already present. My belief is supported by Daniel Goleman. In his paper “What Makes A Leader?”, he states that there is a genetic component to emotional intelligence which means that nature plays a role in determining whether a person will be a great leader. The advice that I received from my colleagues and friends when they were sharing their life experiences with me included encouragement to empathize, forgive, take chances, be happy, give recognition, never give up, give another chance, and have courage. This advice is similar to Warren Bennis’s manager vs. leader distinction, which states that leaders focus on people, inspire trust, have an eye on the horizon, innovate,investigate, challenge and develop new plans. I have also mentioned that I used to consider only famous individuals to be leaders. However, after reading a few books about leadership, watching presentations, listening to the speakers, interviewing some leaders, and watching my friends and co-workers, I have come to the understanding that leaders can be just ordinary people who make a difference in their communities and in the world. I have come to realize that even the smallest thing that we do in our lives with good intentions can constitute leadership and have a positive effect on someone somehow. Therefore, even though one does not have all the skills of a great leader, one can learn the skills by having a mentor, taking on new challenges, making mistakes and learning from them, and developing spirituality and emotional intelligence.
Goleman, D. ‘What Makes A Leader’
Heifetz Leadership Without Easy Answers
Teal, T. The Human Side Of Management
Whyte David. “Crossing the Unknown Sea”