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Courage under fire

Courage under fire means being able to remain calm and doing the right things when most people would panic.

Many corporate and government agency leaders like to think they have courage – few actually do.

Courage should not be mistaken for reckless bravado or dismissive arrogance.

Courage is actually having the conviction to inspire people to do what’s right (and usually, difficult) rather than what’s popular and easy. 

It is choosing between doing the right thing (potentially risking yourself jobless and your family to unpopular backlash) versus turning a blind eye to a situation in order to “play it safe.”

Courage is necessary in leading one to do the right things in life. People are more likely to follow a leader  who asks of them to sacrifice time away from loved ones and struggle against adversities  when he or she is willing to do the same.

In my many years of interaction with people in Malaysia’s palm oil industry as a reporter, I’ve noticed a pattern or two. Here’s my summation of how courageous leadership is demonstrated. 

It takes the form of necessarily venturing into the unknown to seek business growth opportunities, working in collaboration (not isolation), cutting losses, being decisive in making tough choices, listening rather than speaking, admitting faults, forgiving faults of others, not allowing failure to dampen one’s resolve to succeed and practising ethics in furtherance of good governance.

Courage is teachable and learnable – proof of this are in the moments we step up to the challenge and overcome our fears. 

I totally agree with Marilyn Monroe that fear is stupid and so are regrets. 

Courage makes us faithful, whereas the lack of it makes us fearful. Whether we look back on our personal experience or people around us, it is always better to stand for courage than regret failing to do so. 

Courage should not be defined as the absence of fear – it is stupid to assume brave people have no fears.

Courage is actually finding the strength to move ahead in the presence of fear.

In short, courage isn’t exclusive to the few. Courage is shown in everyday decisions.

We’re remembered for the decisions we make or don’t make. We’re acknowledged for the courage we display or fail to exercise.

There are great rewards for those who choose the path of courage. This is because courage will give one the humility to accept bravery in others rather than stifle it. 

True leaders who consistently demonstrate courage will stand apart from the masses. They earn the trust and loyalty of those whom they lead.

Leadership always begins with one courageous act – make that calculated decision. Ladies and gentlemen of the palm oil industry, will you be brave enough to do what is right for the common good?

  1. power lady
    July 9, 2014 at 11:33 am

    So true

  2. Uncle
    July 12, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I wish my bosses are brave to speak up against disguised trade oppression by developed nations. Seems like the company is just drifting around, no direction. Shrinking profits means shrinking bonus. How to retire when we face rising costs of living and shrinking dividends?

  3. Pekebun Kecil
    July 17, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Berani kerana benar. Maruah diri dan masa hadapan anak kita dalam pertarungan. Ayuh! Kita bersatu mara depan dalam perjuangan minyak ini.

  4. Hokkien Lang
    August 29, 2014 at 10:08 am

    These NGO activists have hidden agenda against oil palm growers. It's not environmental protection but trade protectionism for their well-meaning donors. Indonesia very bravely ticked off these environmental NGO's. Malaysia needs to join forces with Indonesia and stand up for our own rights to a better future for our grandchildren. One stark reminder …..before we can take care of the orang Utans isn't it logical to take care millions of our own orang Miskin? Environmental NGO's are biased against Asian countries. Look at their own countries…all their forests have already made way for Industrialisation in the early 1950's and 60's. Now they are harassing Asian countries and imposing trade barriers to restrict the land usage for agriculture. If environmental activists are altruistic in their intent and have nothing to hide, they should facilitate public scrutiny of their funding flows and minutes of their committee meetings published, just like public listed plantation companies file their accounts on the stock market in the name of public transparency. Malaysia and Indonesia must unite against discrimination and build a better future for our next generation.

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