Archive for October, 2012

The push factor

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Those who are afraid to tread new waters may sometimes need to be coaxed or even pressured to deal with the task at hand.

HAVE you ever noticed that the minute you decide you cannot do something, you can’t?

I told this once to a reluctant 18-year-old student but he refused adamantly to believe the power of this simple truth. He decided instead to go with the ready-made explanation he often used.

“Teacher,” he reasoned, “I can’t speak well and I get very nervous when I’m in front of the classroom. My mouth goes dry and I can’t remember what I’m supposed to say.”

I had asked him to be give a short presentation on the topic of chromosome mapping in class.

This is a sub-topic in the unit on genetics of the Form Six Biology syllabus.

A brilliant student, he was quick on the uptake and within minutes, could often understand what others took hours to digest.

As his teacher, I had noticed his acumen and intelligence. I felt however, that the one favour I could do him was to hone his oral presentation skills.

I knew he was hoping that I would let him off the hook. He wanted nothing better than to be able to go back to the safe world of his books and the hours of self-study he employed.

But, to me, this was not what a pre-university student should be doing.

Life was bound to get tougher as he grew older and faced more challenges.

At university, even if he sailed through his papers with flying colours, what would he do when hehad to make presentations?

Was he going to hide behind group members and expect them to do the talking for him? As any good teacher or parent will tell you, it is not an easy task to bolster student mood and instil motivation, especially where public speaking is concerned.

Finding your own level

But, if you are a teacher or parent who cares, can you also turn away from the task and hope that somewhere along the way, the student will somehow manage to find his own level (like water does) and survive?

I shared with the student the principle of “expectance versus acceptance”.

I told him: “I can accept your reason and expect nothing more from you. But, I want to do the opposite even if means hard work for both of us. I expect you to perform and I will accept no excuses.”

In life, if we continually accept defeat, deficiencies and defects, we can stop expecting quality.

I know that a good teacher must have high expectations in order for her students to strive and learn.

by Nithya Sidhhu.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/10/28/education/12209009&sec=education

Make our homes and streets safe again

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Malaysians would prefer our politicians to focus on the real issues of the day, such as fighting crime and improving the people’s quality of life.

YOU know something isn’t right when a restaurant at Section 17 in Petaling Jaya has to lock its main door during peak dining hours. The owner does not want to take any chances and prefers customers to call in ahead to make reservations.

Talk of a famous fish head curry restaurant being robbed has sparked off a chain reaction with many eateries now taking a more cautious approach.

For good measure, there are enough video clips, recorded from CCTVs and posted on YouTube, to show the number of 24-hour mamak shops that have been hit by parang-wielding robbers.

In many parts of Petaling Jaya, many hair salons have long adopted the same security measures to prevent criminals from entering their premises.

Yes, we have come to that level of insecurity in our daily life. I am not sure whether our leaders are aware of the extent of the fears among our people. They need to listen hard to the ground and not just rely on crime statistics. There is no need to be defensive about how reliable the statistics are or whether perception has got the better of us.

For a start, they should listen to their own staff or even their relatives who do not go about their daily lives in the same security-enhanced environment as them. Ordinary workers who go shopping for daily provisions or withdraw money from the ATM have become more conscious of their personal safety.

Our leaders should stop worrying about bad news and its messengers, in this case the media, and instead work on making our homes safe again.

by Wong Chun Wai.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/10/28/nation/12226091&sec=nation

Understanding the Flipped Classroom: Part 1

Friday, October 26th, 2012

The flipped classroom seems to be the latest buzz in educational trends. Is this truly a new revolutionary approach or a revision of a technique used throughout the ages? To be clear, in simplest terms, flipping the classroom refers to swapping classroom lecture time for hands-on practice time. So the lecture is done for homework usually via a video or audio file and the classroom time is spent clarifying and applying new knowledge gained.

A survey of the latest literature indicates that flipping a classroom is not a new idea. It is the way that idea is applied that is gaining so much attention and in most cases, so much praise. Many say that reversing the content delivery and practice is a decades old practice. Consider literature classes where the student reads the novel outside of class. Class time is spent discussing themes and archetypes and rarely the plot of the story. Law schools also traditionally flip when students participate in Socratic seminars and must prepare ahead of time to effectively participate in the seminar and have knowledge to back up their statements (Berrett, 2012). So if it is not something new in education, why is it attracting headlines and discussions?

First a little history on the recent re-emergence of this time tested class technique. It seems that the confluence of enlightenment that led to the current use of the term “flipped classroom” originates in three or four different situations. While high school science teachers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams of Woodland Park, CO are most often credited with coining the phrase flipped classroom in 2007 (White, 2011), there are other schools and programs that essentially developed the same concept around the same time, albeit after.

Dr. Eric Mazur, a physicist at Harvard University, has been using the method for 21 years. He calls it peer instruction (Berrett, 2012). He presented a keynote speech in 2011 at the Building Learning Communities conference in Boston where he demonstrated the technique he uses with his students in class. With the addition of assistive technology to allow for student response and feedback during the peer instruction session, attendees saw how this process works to maximize time with the instructor and focus on higher order thinking skills rather than just taking notes and regurgitating facts.

Some of the characteristics of this latest iteration include engaging the students on a higher level and a smaller ratio of students to instructors while working within the economics of education. As Dr. Mazur said: “Once you engaged the students’ minds, there’s an eagerness to learn, to be right, to master” (Berrett, 2012). According to Bloom (1984), “an average student who receives one-on-one attention is enabled by constant feedback and corrective process, and can jump into the 98th percentile of the student population in academic achievement” (Houston and Lin, 2012). This was stated 24 years ago but most classes are still taught with teacher-centered lectures and only the persistent students seek out one-on-one assistance.

by Pamela Kachka.

Read more @ http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/understanding-the-flipped-classroom-part-1/

A University Degree Is No Guarantee For Employment

Friday, October 26th, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: — Fazren, 29, has a degree in transport management but has been working as an administrative assistant at a government agency over the past four years.

“I have applied for many jobs, both in the civil and private sectors. When I was offered the post of an administrative assistant (at a government agency) I did not hesitate to accept even though the post is for those with SPM qualification. Getting a job is quite difficult these days,” the Pahang-born clerk told this writer here.

Amran obtained 7As in the 2009 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination and is now working as a nurse in a government hospital after obtaining a diploma in nursing from a government nursing college this year.

When queried on why he opted for a nursing course despite having good SPM results and the opportunity to study in a university, the 22-year-old Perlis-born Amran replied, “It is for economic reasons.

“I opted not to go to university as I believe getting a job will be difficult even after I graduated with a university degree. But with a nursing diploma, a job will be waiting for me at any government hospital or other private hospitals.

“It is better to start working at a young age rather than waiting for many years in order to get a job,” he said.

Both Amran and Fazren (not their real names) are among many Malaysian job seekers who are not particular over the choice of employment as they believe that holding a university qualification does not guarantee them a salaried job.

UNEMPLOYED GRADUATES

Last May, the Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Maznah Mazlan told Parliament that some 76,200 graduates in the country were unemployed.

She said that the Human Resource Ministry was trying to resolve the growing rate of unemployment in the country.

In 2010, the number of unemployed graduates was 42,955 or 24.62 per cent of 174,439 Malaysian graduates.

There are 20 public universities (IPTA) in Malaysia including Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

The country also has 60 private higher education institutions (IPTS) like Universiti Teknologi Petronass (UTP), Universiti Multi Media (MMU) and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten).

BACHELOR’S DEGREE

According to the Higher Education Ministry, universities, university colleges and polytechnics nationwide produced 184,581 graduates last year and 44,391 or 24 per cent of them were unemployed.

Based on statistics, Arts and Social Sciences graduates have the highest number of unemployment numbers, constituting 44.5 per cent or 19,784 from the total number of unemployed graduates.

Next were graduates from technical fields where 12,321 were employed, constituting 27.7 per cent of the total number of unemployed graduates.

Science graduates came in third with 7,321 which accounted for 16.49 per cent of the total number of unemployed graduates.

The ministry said that a total of 21,248 bachelor’s degree holders were still unemployed whereas diploma holders have the lowest unemployment rate at 3 per cent.

According to industry sources, many graduates are still unemployed because the courses they studied at university do not have a wide market.

POOR COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Human science lecturer Amien Iskandar said that one of the reasons why graduates could not secure jobs was that their qualifications do not meet market demands and requirements, thus rendering them ‘not marketable’.

“Another factor is the bad command of English. A good command of the English language could help graduates secure employment, especially in the private sector.

“To this end, there is a need to ensure that these graduates are equipped with the necessary skills so that they could be hired for employment after graduating,” he said.

Amien also cited poor communication skills, wrong work attitude and unrealistic expectations as other barriers in gaining employment.

“If you have a good command of English but cannot communicate with others due to poor attitude, (then) you may also find difficulties in being employed,” he explained.

LACK OF TECHNICAL TRAINING

According to the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), the lack of industrial training is also among the factors why graduates are unemployed.

Meanwhile, the Higher Education Ministry Student Development and Affairs Director, Prof Dr Mohd Fauzi Ramlan was reported by the media as saying that other factors that compounded the issue are low problem-solving skills, tendency to switch jobs or job-hopping and lack of self-confidence.

He called on graduates to improve their command of the English language to boost their communication skills.

by Zulkiple Ibrahin.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=704559

Not appeasement but the straight path of virtue.

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

HONOURING THE “OTHER”: Towards a world curriculum of peace and co-exixtence.

SINCE its establishment in 1995, the directors of the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya (UMCCD), Chandra Muzaffar, Azizan Baharuddin and Rahainah Abdullah have contributed to an evolving culture of engagement among civilisations.On Oct 23 and 24, UMCCD organised a symposium of people from different cultures in an intercivilisational dialogue towards peace, harmonious coexistence and sustainability.

The co-sponsors — the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Japan, Soka Gakkai, and the Department of National Unity and Integration, Malaysia — have taken small, significant and steadfast steps towards sharing of noble and universal values, and fostering rational intercultural and interfaith engagements among people in search of truth, peace and harmony. Civilisational dialogue can only occur when people are civil and willing to engage with the other, and to begin to listen.

In such dialogue opportunities people begin to explain their life purposes, worldviews and aspirations, from the perspectives of their faiths, beliefs or philosophies. Such engagements have been going on at all levels of human interactions, in the United Nations, in regional fora, in national committees, in school debates and in family discussions.

Such conversations are not necessarily problem- solving caucuses, but are platforms for knowledge-seeking and, often, are occasions for self-enlightenment.

by Datuk Dr. Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid.

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/not-appeasement-but-the-straight-path-of-virtue-1.162255?cache=03D163D03edding-pred-1.1176%2F%3FpFpentwage63Dp

Graduating to work

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

A blueprint has been drawn up to create jobs and the workers required to fill them.

GRADUATE unemployment is a persistent problem varying only in degree over the years. For instance, studies show a sizeable proportion of the 200,000 graduates coming into the job market annually in recent years cannot find jobs or find them soon enough. In the recession of the mid-1980s graduate unemployment exceeded seven  per cent. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown,  although the problem was worrying,  it was not as bad as the mid-1980s and 1997-98 economic slowdown. Nevertheless, the government has not taken any chances and there have been initiatives on a regular basis to alleviate the problem. The latest is the Graduate Employability Blueprint (EPB) and its attendant task force as announced under the 2013 Budget and due to be launched in December.The government’s concern over local hiring capacities has been heightened by the global trend of rising youth unemployment, particularly in developed economies. In Europe and elsewhere in the West, there is already talk of a “lost generation” of young people whose prospects may be gone for good. Studies have indicated a correlation between graduate unemployment and economic structural adjustment as the economy transforms from, for example, mining and agriculture to manufacturing in the mid-1980s — in short, when there is a severe mismatch between skills learned and skills sought by employers. The problem has also been more about soft skills than grades. One shortcoming of new local graduates is said to be their inability to communicate effectively in English. This is partly blamed on the education system that has not given enough emphasis on English language competency, an important skill. Of course, the fresh graduate’s lack of exposure, resulting in less than attractive inter-personal skills, appearance and body language, has impaired his marketability.

Overcoming all these deficiencies has been a constant target of official policies. This has not changed as manifest in the latest endeavour by the ministry to launch programmes which would improve the individual’s job prospects. Mentioned were the Student Entrepreneurship and Employability Programme and the Students’ Development Programme. The former is important because it makes for an important switch from the usual expectations of graduating students. No longer is employment the necessary way ahead. Instead, they will be given the chance to become entrepreneurs and thus self-employed. When they succeed the nation will have gained smart risk-takers so much needed to build the modern, innovation economy. However, it is not unexpected that many young graduates will simply have to work for a living. They are no less important. The inter-departmental task force will be tasked with tailoring the needs of the market to the output of our higher educational establishments.

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/editorial/graduating-to-work-1.162245?cache=03D163D03edding-pred-1.1176

UNITAR Collaboration with Themed Attractions Malaysia for students Internship and job opportunities

Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Assoc. Prof Madya Dr. Muhamad Naim Kamari, Dean, Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management and Assoc. Prof Dr. Bustam Kamri, Dean Faculty of Early Childhood Studies, UNITAR International University recently had a mutual collaborations with Mr. Hishamuddin Mon, Director, Human Capital, Themed Attractions Malaysia, paving ways for selected UNITAR students to undergo their six (6) months internships (practicum) at one of the Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd projects.

Current projects undertaken by Themed Attractions and Resorts Sdn Bhd, Malaysia are LEGOLAND Malaysia, KidZania Kuala Lumpur, KidZania Singapore, Lat’s Place at Putri Harbour, The Little Big Club at Putri Harbour, Sanrio Hello Kitty Town at Putri Harbour, Ocean Splash at Desaru Coast and Malaysia Truly Asia Attraction.

On 23rd October 2012, Mr Hishamuddin Mon (Director), and Mr Fariq Jaffar (Associate), Human Capital, Themed Attractions Malaysia visited SIDMA College, UNITAR International Sabah, presenting talks and also interviewing potential students to undergo their 6 months internship with Themed Attractions Malaysia beginning January / February 2013 semester.

Successful students (during the interview) will be undergoing their January / February 2013 internship either at LEGOLAND Malaysia or at KidZania Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Prof Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, CEO, took the opportunity to thank Mr. Hishamuddin Mon for his initiative to visit and to personally talk and interviewed UNITAR Sabah potential students. He also invited Mr. Hishamuddin and his team members to make similar visits in the near future.

Dr. Morni also informed UNITAR International Sabah students that UNITAR has grown from ’strength to strength’ especially in preparing its students future, in particular, graduates from the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management and Faculty of Early Childhood Studies. They will find rewarding career opportunities and prospects in store for them from the above fast growing industries in Malaysia.

Dr. Morni also invites potential students to register with the college, especially for the above mentioned programmes.

The November 2012 intake is now open, and potential students can apply online at http://www.dynamic-education.com/ipd/myform/myform/sidmaonline2010.php

Read more @ http://www.sabah.sidma.edu.my/sidma2010/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=430:unitar-collaboration-with-themed-attractions-malaysia-for-students-internship-and-job-opportunities&catid=3:latest-news&Itemid=552

How to Facilitate a Group Discussion

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
There are so many things that can go wrong in a group discussion – it may become too personal, it may go off on a totally irrelevant tangent, or it may simply fail to be productive. How can you avoid this and facilitate a group discussion to make it fruitful? Come, let’s find out.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” ~ Margaret Mead

I do not think this smart quote could be more relevant in any other case than a group discussion. A group discussion is one of the easiest, and yet trickiest ways to encourage people to come up with different ideas, concepts and views about a particular issue. Each one of us is unique, so that a set of variables will never all be the same for any two people. Even twins who have been brought up by the same parents, have gone to the same school, have had the same advantages and disadvantages will still develop into radically different people. This is one of the most significant reasons why group discussion can prove to be really useful. However, there are many things about a group discussion that might also go against it. So, what can you do to facilitate it smoothly and ensure it turns out productive?

9 Tips to Fuel Group Discussions

The person who presides over a group discussion is called the facilitator. It is the facilitator’s role to ensure that a group discussion does not go askew! Apart from the basic group facilitation skills that a facilitator must possess, here are 9 easy tips to facilitate any kind of group discussion.

1. Rules are NOT Meant to be Broken
Lay down some fundamental rules and see to it that everybody follows them. Ensure that the discussions don’t get too personal; at the same time, make sure that people express their personal views about something. They should not take on your role of the facilitator and give both sides of the discussion. It is only going to confuse (and probably enrage) other participants. Encourage participants to take a stand.

2. Balance ‘For’ and ‘Against’
Chances are that in due course of the discussion, the participants automatically fall into ‘for’ and ‘against’ categories (or ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’). Try to avoid this; however, should it happen, see to it that you balance both the sides. It may happen that one of the two groups is in minority.

3. Direct and Divert
As the facilitator of the group discussion, you have to ensure you keep participants focused. At the same time, the discussion should be flexible and should grow outward, so that relevant questions are raised, that will help enlarge the sphere of discussion. Direct the group discussion to suitable areas that will help increase the scope of the discussion. Divert participants away from controversial, biased or irrelevant areas.

4. Fair and Square
One of the most important measures to facilitate group discussion is to keep the discussion fair, just and unbiased. However, this should not only apply to the discussion, but also to the participants. Make sure that none of your participants feel left-out, or like their views are not being considered or entertained. Observe their body language, it will give you important clues.

5. Questions to Question!
As the facilitator, you can ask important, crucial questions that will facilitate the group discussion. However, apart from that you should remember that the questions you ask to support the discussion should also help you in your quest to make the discussion productive. A group discussion should not be simply led in one direction after another without any of these endeavors being useful. Use questions to your advantage, so that you control the topic being discussed.

6. Follow the Flow
One of the most important tips to facilitate group discussions is to make sure that everybody follows the discussion without getting lost in their own thoughts. If you really want the discussion to be productive, it is important that everybody keeps track of the different ideas and views being discussed and put forth by the participants. One way to do this is to repeat the key point or the gist of someone’s view after he/she is done expressing it (however, don’t do it all the time!).

7. Yes-No, Black-White
The kind of questions you ask to facilitate and ease a group discussion is also very important. It is a good idea to avoid the ‘yes-no’, ‘black-white’, ‘true-false’ kind of questions; a discussion can quickly assume the properties of a debate if you do that. Try to stick to open-ended questions. Make sure your questions are not too narrow, or too direct either; it may make the participants feel cornered or triggered.

8. People and Personalities
The kind of people that make up a particular group that has gathered for a group discussion will be versatile and dynamic. There are going to be all sorts of people, from all kinds of backgrounds, with different upbringings, who will have different views. Although this is in fact a good thing, there can be times when it turns against the group discussion.

9. Materials and Methods
It is always a good idea to facilitate group discussion with aids like a whiteboard (use this to keep track of the discussion), perhaps a wary PowerPoint presentation (use this for the introduction, before the discussion begins), etc. You can hand out small writing pads to the participants so they can use it to scribble notes, or jot down points or issues they want to raise, etc. You can even use pictures or video clips wherever necessary/relevant.

Finally, remember that this is simply an activity and should not turn out to be too serious, or any more serious than necessary.

Workshop Facilitation Techniques

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Workshop facilitation techniques have been designed to help achieve specific goals, while ensuring group participation. For a workshop to be deemed successful, a facilitator must understand the group dynamics and acrobatically address the inequalities in the group. Indeed, this is where managerial acrobat comes into play!
A presentation by experts that encourages attendees to participate actively in order to gain actual practical experience, in solving befuddling work-related problems, is known as a facilitated workshop. Facilitated workshops are helpful in managing changes that are integral to the existence of an organization. They encourage participation by breaking down barriers and helping the organization achieve its goals. Facilitated workshops help by motivating employees, manager and others, who have a stake in the process, to communicate and interact effectively with each other. Workshop facilitation is the responsibility of the team leader, manager or expert who plays the role of a facilitator. Team-building workshops help foster a sense of belonging. The following workshop facilitation techniques are often used by facilitators in order to encourage group participation.

The Techniques

Identifying Objectives
This is the most important part of workshop facilitation. It can yield the desired results, provided the facilitator has a clear idea about the intended outcome of the workshop.

Being Flexible
It is necessary for the facilitator to be flexible regarding goals and the schedule. Being overambitious or time conscious should be avoided in order to achieve the best results.

Playing Games
Games can liven the atmosphere, and help people get comfortable with each other. Games fire up the urge to participate. An interesting game that involves group participation, can be helpful in encouraging people to work with each other.

Solving Complex Problems Part by Part
A workshop facilitator helps people solve complex problems by breaking down the problem into smaller problem units. Each problem unit then, can be assigned to different groups. Each group tackles its problem and arrives at the solution. Collectively, they solve the seemingly complicated problem.

Identifying Dormant Participants
This is a very important part of the facilitator’s job. The facilitator identifies dormant participants and encourages them to participate actively. Encouraging them to voice their opinion, while not seeming patronizing, can be quite a challenge. Uttering phrases like, “Good job!” or “Well done!”, is what patronizing is all about.

Using Visual Tools
Visual aids can also help people learn during facilitation. Just as a problem can be broken down into smaller units, one can simplify a problem by putting together smaller units. This is when visual tools can come in handy. Simple building blocks can help people build a problem and indicate offshoots or results of the problem.

Facilitating Limited People
If there are fewer people participating in a workshop, every one gets a chance to participate. Moreover, dormant participants can be easily identified and encouraged to take part in group activities. In order to ensure maximum participation, the facilitator should limit the number of participants to 10.

Facilitate Learning
Indeed, a very important role of a facilitator is to encourage the members of the workshop to share their views and opinions with each other. Sharing random experiences with group members facilitates learning and helps you bond better with each other.

Encourage Healthy Discussion
Where there is learning involved , discussion is bound to be its precursor. Discussion brings along feedback. A facilitator must encourage the flow of constructive feedback and criticism. Questioning is a powerful tool; one must avoid misusing it. Posing relevant and thought-provoking questions, builds the discussion toward a positive outcome.

Provide Feedback
While there are group members, who are all vocal and voluble about their views, there is another sector that is reticent enough to not voice their opinion on a given topic. It is the facilitator, who ought to uncover their reticence by encouraging and involving them in the discussion at hand.

Workshop facilitator job description includes self awareness as a prerequisite for the job.

by Aparna Iyer.

Four Most Important Leadership Qualities of Good Leader

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
Confidence and communication skill are just some of the plethora of attributes that a good leader should possess. Good leadership is a universal and timeless need. We take a look at the four most important leadership qualities.

To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’
- Lao-Tsu

Good leaders are required in all walks of life, in all professional fields. A good leader can motivate and inspire those around them to strive to achieve much more than they thought they could. The position of a good leader is indispensable. A good leader has the knack to align his team members and prepare them to take on any challenge that may lay in their path towards success.

There are a number of qualities that one seeks for in a potential leader. Some of the important ones include – a strong personality, good character, enthusiasm, confidence, tenacity, etc. However, there are four qualities that are most desirable in a good leader. Here is an account of those qualities.

4 Pillars of Good Leadership

1. Ability and Confidence to Take Risks

A leader needs to have the ability to take risks. This ability comes with confidence in your decisions and yourself. It is claimed that higher the risk, higher is the gain. However, it need not always be so. A good leader should hence be able to weigh the pay-off of each situation properly. Someone who is happy being where he/she is will never make a good leader. A good leader should not rest on past laurels. A leader who does that soon loses his/her position. People are quick to remove such leaders from the pedestals they had set them upon. The constant urge for innovation is one of the most important leadership qualities.

2. Mental Strength and Stability

A leader needs to be mentally strong. He should also have a stability and calm about his personality. A leader is always under the microscope; there will be more than single occasion when a leader will be questioned about his/her judgment and / or decisions. Only a tough leader Will be able to live through and overcome such periods of trials. Leadership creates a certain separation from one’s peers; this separation comes from carrying responsibilities that only a leader is capable of. A leader must be able to be strong in such a situation.

3. Superior Communication Skills

Effective leadership necessitates good communication skills. By communication skills, I mean talking AND listening skills. A leader needs to create a proper system of communication for the organization. All interactions should take place without hurting anybody, especially the minorities. Leaders should possess the ability to ask the right questions. However, the role of a leader goes beyond himself; it also extends to the team he creates/elects. A good leader should also possess superior interviewing skills in order to choose the right candidate. He should clearly communicate the objectives and procedures required for a task.

4. Going the Extra Mile

Good leaders always put more effort than the organization expects from them. They do activities that the majority of people won’t do. Where most people quit, they persevere. All these things contribute to make them a good leader. Through their actions, dedication and excellence, a leader should set an example to their team. Leaders do not only motivate themselves in personal development but also motivate those around them. Good leaders do what is necessary to upgrade their knowledge and skills and be on the cutting edge in their field.

To end the article on a positive and hopeful note, I will quote Walter Lippmann – “The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on.”

by Prabhakar Pillai