What kind of leadership do you aspire to provide in your organization that could contribute to Bhutan becoming a truly GNH country?
Leadership is a position with power and responsibilities; power to make things happen, responsible to those who are affected by your decisions, especially those who work with you.
Literature has outlined many different types of leaderships starting from Transformational, Transactional, Autocratic, Laissez-faire, to Democratic, Bureaucratic, Charismatic etc. and has also stated that Situational Leadership is the best as it is using the leadership type that any situation demands.
But let me differ and share my story.
I come from a teaching background, and I was entrusted around 40 young minds every class I went. Sometime in the 10th year of my career, I became a Vice Principal and undertook some administrative work formally. But I was never trained to be a leader. I had to learn on the job. I looked up literature. I looked up prominent personnel. I took inspirations from my Kings. And I learned.
I learned that there are born leaders, and there are those to whom responsibilities are entrusted. And yet, both thrive. Because being a leader is not only leading the masses. It is about leading the self. As His Majesty the King reminded us, “What we need is not a Leader to lead the masses – we need Leadership of the self”.
Ex-Sherig Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk has said “Every moment is a Leadership moment…” during a Principal’s Conference at Thimphu in 2016. Leadership traits should come from within. Every moment, whether it is dealing with students, or subordinates or your Chiefs, defines your role as a leader.
As a Vice Principal working in a school, I wanted to be someone that my students would look up to and my teachers would believe in. I wanted to be able to create future leaders from my students. I wanted to groom the young teachers to be principals and education officials. I wanted them to look up to me and be inspired to do the same.
Today I work in a very small organization with a chief leading me and an administrative assistant. Our office is small, but we are still a National Commission. And I still want to be so able to groom more leaders. That’s why I volunteer my time with young people. I want to show by example. I want to lead by example. I did not dare to tell them what not to do but show by example stories.
I do not have to aim to fulfill any GNH indicators to contribute to making my country a truely GNH one. I just have to be myself. I just have to know what I want in life. I just have to lead myself.
And there are situations which calls for ingenuity in leading. All these stems from the literature experiences that I encounter in my life; reading the works of the likes of Dr. Adrian Chan and Robin Sharma.
After all, GNH is defined as “…a holistic approach to development that ensures alignment between what an individual wants from life and what a government does in the name of development” (Dasho Karma Tshiteem, Secretary, GNHC, Thimphu 2012).
So, I do not have to consciously aim to contribute in Bhutan becoming a truly GNH country, instead I should aim to lead a good and peaceful life.