The War of the Titans

This is what I aspire for — to be a great leader.

Posted by Tennisace from Pinoyexchange.com:

“We differ in our definition of a “leader”.

Someone who lacks knowledge and is eager to learn more is not and cannot be leader. One can have a wealth of knowledge, but it is not a criterion of being a leader. A jack-of-all-trades and a know-it-all makes for a very poor leader. There are many things that I’m ignorant about, but I’m pretty knowledgeable in what I do.

Among other things, a leader is someone who excels at what he does and leaves the rest to those who can do it better; someone who can accept his limitations and the limitations of those under his charge; someone who knows how to compartmentalize, delegate and orchestrate; someone who knows how to push the right buttons to bring out the best of those under his charge.

You don’t need to ever-educate yourself in order to be a leader. If you want to be an effective leader, educate yourself about the people you deal with everyday especially those who look up to you. When you take the lives of your charge personally, they will go to hell and back for you because they know you’d do the same thing for them. That is a leader.”

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I’ve always gotten leadership roles since I was in high school. Back in university, I headed a 450-member organization, and now that in Taiwan, I’m the head of a 1,600-member organization for English-speaking professionals.

I love it.

I love taking over the reins of something, and making it grow.

But as a leader, I often have to objectively see my strengths and flaws.

Simply said, while most is happy with how I run things (e.g., the past president of my organization still couldn’t believe how we can pull off the most successful project single-handedly), I do have a few critics.

Here’s what one said:

“It’s just tiring to work with Raven… she changes her mind. She wants to do things the way she likes it. Every project has a leader. As president, she must let the project leader lead and make their own decisions. So what makes her difficult to work with is that she lets you handle a project, and once you do it, she wants to get involved and change things her way.”

Haha, this is new — I didn’t know that I had a tyrant-like leadership style. But you learn something new about this everyday. Personally, my belief is that the president is responsible for the success/failure of an organization. If I see a project leader having a screwed-up idea on how to get the job done, or if his goals are impractical, should I just shut up and let him learn from his mistakes? If I see a project heading towards failure, do I just let it go?

Yes and no.

If it’s a small project, sure, why not? People make mistakes. But if it’s a big-ass project like the Gala where my organization can lose at least NT$60,000 (around P90,000), then… no f*cking way.

If Mark and I didn’t step in, get involved and just let them let go of the project, I don’t think it would’ve been as successful. Yes, it’s a team effort, but there’s always someone needed to push a project.

But at least, I do have some people who believe in me and my abilities. Here’s what he said::

“From what I know of Raven, if I can convince her of something…she’s all for it. Seriously…if I told her NO FUCKING WAY!!! WE ARE DOING IT MY WAY but I gave her a good reason, I think she’s reasonable enough to listen and agree.”

Haha, I don’t really see myself as an unreasonable person.

Actually, how I usually decide is that I first ask for feedback from every one, and then make a decision. I don’t like being put on the stop and making a snap decision without consulting anyone else.

Hence, it takes me awhile to make a decision. But once I make a decision, I’ll stick with it because it’s the result of so many consultations.

People complain because they want their way and they can’t convince me that it’s the right path to follow. As president, I have to always look long-term and see the big picture on whether a project is practical or not. I shoot down an idea because I don’t think they’re feasible or for the good of the org. And if people are unhappy about that, sorry.

I’m not perfect, but I try.

There are also some people who are wailing on how big our organization have become. Here’s a comment of one:

“Is the organization as fun as it used to be? Feeling-wise, it used to be closer so people got to know each other better. Now, most of the old members left because they feel it’s no longer as personal.”

Sigh, the cost of success is that an organization gets bigger.

For example, all start-up companies cannot stay in the garage for long.

In the end, they have to move to bigger facilities and employ more people.

This is inevitable and foolish to think that a small organization will not grow, given its successes.

When I first started in this organization, we had around 1,200 in our email list, and we’re lucky to even get 25 people to come to our activities.
Fast forward six months later and over 1,600 people get a newsletter from us (and still growing), and our last brunch had over 60 participants. The Christmas dinner and exchange gift that I’m organizing tomorrow already has 64 people, and more people are calling me up to reserve slots!

Is the organization no longer as it’s used to be, that’s why some old members don’t come anymore?

No, I don’t think so.

Because we’ve grown, the dynamics have changed and more people are going.

No, as a dynamic organization, we cannot expect to be a 25-30 people group forever. And how do you turn people away when more than expected people show up?

The fact that a lot of people are coming to our activities mean that we’re doing something right. And because of the huge number of people, we cannot cater to every single person every time. That’s impossible.

But we do our best and organize events, and let them mingle on their own.

It depends on perception.

Yes, the organization is less personal but so what? Personally, I’m still having fun because am doing the activities I’d like to do. So I get the fun in that.

And if people stick around, they’ll also realize how much fun it is.

People will always complain.

We are doing exactly the same things six months ago, planning weekly events and doing big-ass projects once in a blue moon. Frankly, we’re just doing our best and if people aren’t happy about that, well, so be it. There will always be people who would want to leave, whether or not we change… and we cannot keep all 1,600 happy!

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Running an organization is interesting.

Within the past six months of running this organization, I’ve grown and matured in so many ways.

Back then, I was a wide-eyed innocent who was raring to take the reins of this almost-dead organization. I had big dreams and many plans, and I just wanted to implement them.

Now, I can sometimes say that I’m more jaded, more stable and surer of myself.

There’s been more times nowadays where I’ve put my foot down and voiced out my opinions. Of course, I have to do this nicely. But I’m more firm with what I want, once I know what needs to be done.

Some people don’t like my style, most do because things get done.

Of course, this isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect, and am learning everyday on how to improve myself better.

Okay, enough with the rambling! Till tomorrow!

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About Bonita

I'm a forgetful person. But I think a lot. Every day, a lot of thoughts enter my head. That's why this blog came to be: first, to keep my memories alive through the years, and two, to actually see how I and my thoughts have changed. Please note that I seldom draft or edit my posts. Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I offend some of you, my readers. And while I apologize for making you feel uncomfortable, I am not sorry for being honest or for making well-intentioned mistakes. I will however be the first to admit if I change my mind. Hence, do read and proceed with caution. My life is as colorful and as boring as you make it. I complain many days, but offer some encouragement in others. Life is fluid, it changes. So keep the positives and throw away the negatives, and I do hope that at the end of the day, you will enjoy reading the blog and leaving comments here and there if my posts touches you. Happy reading!
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