Some personal traits that I developed in my life have helped me in carrying out my leadership function. These included habits such as having the time to think and reflect. This is essential. You have to have a yearly, monthly, weekly and daily plan all the time and make the necessary adjustments as time goes by. You have to reflect and adjust. At the end of every day, I would review that work of the day and prepare a mental to-do list for the next. I would make adjustments. This time for review is necessary, it allowed me to be alert and anticipate problems. I always have a back-up plan for any eventuality.
I also adopted Tun Razak’s walkabout management style. You have to be familiar with all your projects. You have to know what they are, where they are and the purpose of their existence. Such knowledge will facilitate quick and fast decisions, when the need arises. Personally visit and inspect office buildings, schemes, potential investments. Many times, I know that my staff was dismayed by this habit, but I think they came out the better for it. However it was perceived, as a leader it is necessary to maintain visibility and accessibility – to be on the ground level at all times.
It was necessary, for team building, to have personal get-togethers and gatherings with the staff and personnel. It built camaraderie, to pass the message that we are all in this together. Very essential to know your people and colleagues – this is part of team building. You cannot undertake your responsibility single-handedly. You need people to assist and they have to understand your thinking and aspirations. Always keep in close touch with your people and convince them that they are essential as a member of a bigger team. You have to impress that team work is essential to generate success. We sink or swim together.
Finally, in my position as head of the organization, it was part of my duties to attend business and personal social invitations. It is important “to know the people who know”.
Most of these habits are not inherent in me. I had to acquire and develop them out of necessity. What motivated me was that I was part of an important phase in my people and country’s development. In life you have to have an ambition especially to achieve something you desire. You have to motivate yourself and be ready to work hard to assist in the creation and development of a better family, a better community and a better nation.
You do not have to keep score of your tasks mathematically. Your scorecard has to be in your brain. Constant and regular monitoring is essential to determine where you are in your respective journey in order to enable you to make adjustments if you are under achieving. I am a driver, both personally and for the organizations I led. We have continuously to grow and move faster. Goals have to be set and achieved, preferably over-achieved. All these need hard work, communication and undivided commitment.
I would characterise my leadership style as leading by example and being ready to soil your feet when the need arises. I solicit, receive and accept input from inside and outside the organization and the industry, as well as from others who are sincere in seeing the achievement of our objectives and targets. I did not have an “inner circle” of advisors, but after taking into account all input, I would depend on my understanding and intuition in assessing situations.