Bedtime reflection

I wrote an article some time back that received quite a few “likes” on respecting the rest time of others. Ever since, people have been wary of disturbing me on weekends.

There are a few points I want to make:

I have no issues with touching work on weekends. I have problems with unnecessarily disturbing people on weekends when it can be done on weekdays, especially when it is at the sender’s convenience, not the receivers. As leaders, we need to be sensitive to the needs of our people. But if you have to do it, you have to do it. A wise leader will make the right call and do what is needed, even if it pisses people off.

Colleagues and friends have called on a weekend or after work to ask for help in many instances, and I gladly obliged because I knew they needed help. There is a difference between needing help and seeking convenience. I don’t like to be taken for granted for things I am not obligated to do. Attitude makes all the difference.

Saying “Sorry for disturbing you on the weekend” does not make you any less guilty if you are saying it for the sake of saying it.

I was told I like to justify myself. There is a difference between seeking mutual understanding and explaining my position, being accountable, and justifying oneself. People can always say they don’t care, but as leaders, our position alone can deter others from confronting us. Hence we need to be proactive, even more so if you have an intimidating presence like me. As an instructor, I always explain my rationale to my participants. It assures them that I am of sound mind and allows them to challenge me if I am wrong or inconsistent. When the time comes when I don’t have a chance to explain myself, they will be more likely to listen to my instructions because I have demonstrated to them that my thinking process is sound. I believe this is similar to leading your troops in a war.

As a leader, I am clear about my position on things, and I try as much as possible to be. As a human, I know I have my blind spots, and therefore, I need others not to be afraid to tell me when I am wrong. Putin is one example of why you should surround yourself with critics.

I am vocal. I was told that I should not be because my wife is is in the public service. Somehow, the commenter forgot that I am in the public service as well. I don’t think we need more yes-men in the administration. In fact, I despise leaders who are more concerned about their personal well-being, job security, and popularity than saying what others need to hear to grow. Then, there is the question of tact, which I am still learning. Everything is a matter of balance. We cannot have people who challenge for the sake of challenging as well.

Some time back, one asked me how many of my former colleagues or friends have kept in touch with me, seemingly to discredit me. It was during a time when my social media was closed. The critic went silent coincidentally after I reopened my accounts. I suppose the truth speaks for itself. While I am happy and blessed to continue receiving the support of some who walked with me before, popularity is never a testament to truth and is not something I mindlessly flex.

There are some quotes I try to live by. Here’s two of them:

“I have never been over concerned or obsessed with opinion polls or popularity polls. I think a leader who is, is a weak leader. Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless.” – LKY

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain

Published
Categorized as Journal

By ben@sgben.com

Hi, I am Benjamin. I am a Singaporean son, born and bred. I came from a modest background, just like most Singaporeans and went to mainstream schools like most middle-class Singaporeans. What makes me different is my unconventional choices and journey in life, giving me a different insight into life. I share my thoughts not because I think I am right but to be corrected if I am wrong. I am not too concerned about who is right but what is right. Drop me a PM or leave a message and I am happy to talk about anything!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.