[Speaker Night] Leadership: The Leadership Journey

It was an illuminating and inspiring session as we kicked off the Leadership Sessions with three powerful speakers who shared their own experience of being a leader in their life. Those who attended our sessions since the beginning of the year would be able to see how Relationships, Performance, and Charisma are necessary building blocks to Leadership—what our speakers undoubtedly have. Julia began the session by identifying the different types of leadership. Broadly categorized into transactional and transformational styles, she made a point that transactional styles (authoritarian and dependency) tend to be manipulative and are not in essence real leadership. Rather, real leadership begins at the intrinsic level, when a person is able to be responsible for himself and lead himself. Beyond that, a person can choose to expand himself into taking on a bigger game to lead a small group, become a thought or movement leader, or be a leader at the world level.

Yixin, our first speaker, packed a punch by getting our audience talking about what interested them in the topic of leadership, and following that shared about how she took on coaching to make a difference, then developing her leading skills to make a difference to more people faster. As an unstoppable leader, she shared about challenging norms and daring to venture into realms that bridge humanity, and her vision to empower the lives of women and their families in developing countries through her platform.

Su-Ann, our second speaker, shared about how it was so easy to hide behind her writing like all writers tend to do, but she quickly realized that she could make a difference through her writing. As a writer, mother, and business owner, she shared her experience with others and showed them how it was possible to make a living out of their writing through her site. Her books which are sold on Amazon.com serve to inspire children and adults alike. 

Steve, our final speaker, moved the room with his story of expanding his capacity to take care of his family while learning to lead himself better. Many in the audience resonated with his story of love and loss, nearly losing his job once, having to make tough choices, of hitting a rock-bottom period in his life, to emerging in the top 3% performers of his organization, worldwide. A giant with a big heart, Steve continues to spread love to the world through his page.

Throughout the conversation, we could hear leadership themes and principles emerge as our speakers shared about being their higher self, going beyond ego, making choices that are true to themselves even if others may disagree, and communicating what is important clearly and honestly. They spoke about falling forward, and jumping in even when you don’t know what the end will be like. We all agreed that leaders are leaders because they make things happen, and it is through staying on the path and constantly moving that they ultimately find their purpose. Leaders also recognize that they need to master themselves first before they can lead others. Julia then summarized the different levels of leadership: Leadership by threat or fear is the lowest form of leadership, while leadership by competence is leadership by attraction, and leadership by inspiration and influence is the highest form of leadership that one could aspire to.

All that said, leaders are not immune to mistakes. Wei Ping brought up a great point that followers often expect leaders to call the shots and then blame the leader when things go wrong, but followers themselves need to recognize that they are responsible for supporting the leader too. Hence, discipleship or followership is just as important as leadership, and good leaders are also good disciples. We heard that great leaders are not afraid to fall, and they are remembered not for falling but for picking themselves up. Their battle scars make them stronger and wiser. Good leaders learn to recognise crises as events that reveal who they truly are and show what they are made of.

Still curious to know about how to be a leader and hungry for more? Join our coming Fireside at PoMo on Tuesday 29 July from 7.30-9.30pm, where we will continue delving into the topic of leadership. Don’t forget to feed the question bucket with a specific question you have! RSVP to Ziqi @ 96940841. See you there!