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Leadership and governance training session for multicultural community leaders

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We have traditionally looked at leaders as the sort of people capable of taking charge of the pack; that is, more often than not, a privilege not just given to anyone. For the most part, it takes a special character to lead a group, each capable of autonomic processes by themselves. So, when you are rendered the chance to become a leader, you are put in the disposition to reckon that you are not just your average Joe—at least, more than the general thinking person.

But leaders, in general, are not always cut from the same cloth. Each individual in such stature is more or less unique from one another—for better or worse, but none perfect. As such, they can be divided into four classes (conveniently, North, East, South, West), each of which comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses:

  • North
    • Strengths: Active, assertive, and decisive; bottom-line thinker; likes novelty, variety, and new projects; persistent
    • Weaknesses: argumentative, defensive, superiority complex; black-and-white perspective, not adaptable to changes; cold character; too independent of relinquishing control and delegate tasks
  • East 
    • Strengths: Sees the big picture; idea-oriented, forward-thinking; adept problem solver; adventurous
    • Weaknesses: May be unfocused; poor follow-through; poor time tracking; easily frustrated and overwhelmed in conflicting situations 
  • South 
    • Strengths: Supportive of others; emotion-oriented; collective in approach; team player
    • Weaknesses: Has difficulty declining requests; tendency to over-compromise to offset any conflict; tends to blame self; finds conundrum in consulting, confronting, and dealing with anger
  • West 
    • Strengths: pedantic on data and logic in decision-making; exacting on guidelines and rules; rational; dependable, practical, and thorough
    • Weaknesses: information overload; stubborn and holds in position; may be cold or withdrawn; may be resistant to emotional pleas and change

Having someone to call as a leader is one thing, but governance also plays a critical role when it comes to herding a large crowd. By definition, “governance” is “the way rules, norms and actions are structured, sustained, regulated, and held accountable”.

But while governance by itself is binding and sets its own culture in managing the collective individuals, people respect guidelines and rules when the person enforcing them is a) transparent and accountable in their decision-making process and b) effective and efficient in their organisational management.

Furthermore, leaders have to understand that governance is not merely the imposition of established principles on their subjects. Rather, it is more of bridging the gap between the governing body and the governed—otherwise known as civic engagement. This element is essential as it acknowledges real-life experiences in any formal decision-making process, empowers the public, and guarantees that everyone’s concern is heard.

Another important factor in governance is civic participation which is a process whereby community representatives and members formally deal with the government. In particular, with the adherence to established requirements and regulations as well as the improvement of services. This element is critical as it brings the people’s concern beyond just the community or grassroots organisation level. In essence, it enforces diversity and representation in the government, which is especially helpful when involving the marginalised groups and the minority. 


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