EVENTS | LUMEN
DPM Teo Chee Hean was appointed Deputy Prime Minister on 1 April 2009 . He also serves as Coordinating Minister for National Security , Minister for Home Affairs , and Minister in charge of the Civil Service .
The focus of his lecture was on interactions within institutions and leaders , and the importance of values .
Mr Teo : For an organisation to sustain success over a long period of time , it needs both institutions as well as leadership . Institutions are the collective knowledge of an organisation – its systems , its processes and how it gets its work done . Leadership requires charisma , and the ability to motivate and inspire people .
It is especially important to have good leadership at key phases in an organisation ’ s life , for example , when starting an organisation , or when an organisation needs to change direction . In the latter situation , the institutional framework may not be right for the organisation anymore . The way the organisation used to do things – its processes , structures and systems may be designed for a purpose which is no longer relevant . The leader needs to take the organisation in a completely new direction , to set new goals , establish new processes and systems , and inspire the people in the organisation to do new things .
What values should guide leadership ? Leadership is not just about the leader himself , whether he achieves a particular goal or wins a prize for being the best leader . If so , the people will realize very quickly that he is out there for himself , and not for others , and nobody will follow him .
A good leader can only succeed if he can work well with people . He must be able to bring people along with him , to work together to achieve a common goal . A good leader must be able to engender trust in his people .
One of Singapore ’ s strengths is our system of meritocracy , which offers equal opportunity for all , regardless of family background or race , to go as far as possible . A person who achieves success in such a system needs to be humble . He needs to recognize that he has benefitted from the system , and that he does not have a monopoly on all wisdom and knowledge . As a leader , if he wants his organisation or country to succeed , he cannot function in isolation . He will need to draw on the pool of wisdom and knowledge , and all the energies of the people he leads .
DPM Teo also talked about how schools can help to nurture leaders . He said , “ Schools like SJI have done a particularly good job with values
education , because that is an integral part of their mission . It is not so complicated or difficult , to discover what are good values and what are not . Just build them in your messages to the students , in the way that students behave towards each other , and also the kind of expectations that you place on your students .
Besides school leaders and teachers , parents also must believe that they want to bring up children the same way .
When asked about his thoughts when considering taking up the position as DPM , Mr Teo said , “ Each time I have taken on a position of leadership , I have always felt a deep sense o f responsibility . You can feel the weight of the responsibilities . You wonder whether you are up to it , and will be able to live up to the responsibility . With so many people putting their faith in you , your greatest concern is that somehow , you might fail them , so you try to do your best for them .
Page 15 : Mr Seah with moderator Mr Vincent Anandraj Facing page : Moderator Warren Fernandez during the dialogue session with Prof Tan
This page : DPM shares some light-hearted stories with the audience