This Leadership Q&A section will feature the most popular Q&A curated from our ELP classes.

Question: Are leaders made or born?

Answer: Lee Kuan Yew used to say that a leader can be made provided he is born (probably with reference to some of his subordinates) Most leaders are nurtured and leadership skills can be learned and practised. Of course, there are people with stronger leadership instincts and those instincts are born. According to one research, the general ratio for most leaders would be two-third nurture and one-third nature. In Singapore, for example, there are some ministers who struggle with political leadership even though they have strong academic achievements and were successful managers in their previous career. Leadership and management are related but they are different concepts.

Question: What is leadership charisma?

Answer: Charismatic leadership relies on the personality and persuasiveness of the leader, who is usually driven by their conviction and commitment to their cause. Charismatic leaders are skilled communicators who can communicate with their followers on a deep, emotional level. They have an innate ability to articulate a compelling vision and inspire people. Such leaders tend to arouse strong emotions and include Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr,  Winston Churchill and Mao Zedong.

Question: How should I work with my boss?

Answer: Managing your relationship with your boss is as critical as accomplishing your tasks. Align expectations and priorities often. Determine how you can support your boss’ agenda and KPIs. Build trust and professional credibility. Keep open communications. Remember, your boss is a resource for you. Also, when your boss think of you – are you usually part of the solution or are you part of the problem? If you have to bring a problem to your boss, bring some solution options for discussion as well.



How a great leader inspires – watch this engaging video below:

Famous quotes of Lee Kuan Yew and selected Singapore leaders:

” Rest on laurels?  I wish I could do that.  No, you rest when you are dead.”Lee Kuan Yew

Ministers are not all paid the same because their contributions are not the same. I see it like this: The PM is the CEO of a team and he’s got to make that team work. And the team costs less than 0.02% of GDP or less than what Mindef has to pay for one F15 fighter aircraft”Lee Kuan Yew

” A leader can be made provided he is born.”Lee Kuan Yew

I tell people frankly God has made you that way. I’m not God. I cannot remake you. I can give you extra tuition, better environment, but the incremental benefits are not that much. And their peers with bigger engines will also make progress. So the gap will never be closed.”Lee Kuan Yew

” So there are alpha males and there are omega males.. but if you are omega, then all the training will not make you a platoon commander.”
Lee Kuan Yew

“Of all my Cabinet colleagues, it was Goh Keng Swee who made the greatest difference to the outcome for Singapore…When he held a contrary view, he would challenge my decisions and make me re-examine the premises on which they were made. As a result, we reached better decisions for Singapore.” – Lee Kuan Yew

“I used to play golf, but found it did not give me vitality because it’s a slothful game… Nine holes of golf will take you one and a half, two hours. I run in 20 minutes, I feel better off. So the cost benefit made me drop golf. ” – Lee Kuan Yew

“If all the 300 (top civil servants and political elite) were to crash in one jumbo jet, then Singapore will disintegrate.”Lee Kuan Yew on the Old Guard ministers and top civil servants

Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless.” – Lee Kuan Yew

I have never been over-concerned or obsessed with opinion polls or popularity polls. I think a leader who is, is a weak leader. If you are concerned with whether your rating will go up or down, then you are not a leader. You are just catching the wind…you will go where the wind is blowing.
Lee Kuan Yew

Friendship, in international relations, is not a function of goodwill or personal affection. We must make ourselves relevant so that other countries have an interest in our continued survival and prosperity as a sovereign and independent nation.”Lee Kuan Yew

We have to live with the world as it is, not as we wish it should be. We must remain nimble to seize opportunities that come with changing circumstances.” – Lee Kuan Yew

Change is the very essence of life. The moment we cease to change, to be able to adapt, to adjust, to respond effectively to new situations, then we have begun to die.” – Lee Kuan Yew

” A military presence does not need to be used to be useful.”-  Lee Kuan Yew

Do not judge a man until you’ve closed his coffin.” – Lee Kuan Yew

To run a country, you need to have a feel for the people.” – Lee Kuan Yew

It is better to have stallions, which we occasionally have to pull back, than to have donkeys you have to kick to move.” –  Goh Keng Swee

” The only way to avoid making mistakes is not to do anything. And that, in the final analysis, will be the ultimate mistake.”Goh Keng Swee

Politics is incessant and the pressure is continuous. Politics being a service industry, the customer is always right.” – George Yeo

” Newspapers are like politicians. They try to influence public opinion… we can’t allow two forces to contend for public opinion.” –  Goh Chok Tong

Every organisation requires a different leadership style. A good leader is not one who has a particular style – though we all have our own idiosyncrasies – but one who can bring out the best from his team by adapting his leadership style.” – Chan Chun Sing


Latest update on our delivery and facilitation

The training programs at Raffles Leadership Centre attract global participants from across industries , across cultures and across the world. The hallmark of our training courses is practical learning where we blend theoretical concepts and real-world applications. A theory is never an end in itself but rather a reference point to discuss and frame real-world execution. Our blended curriculum incorporates a mix of pedagogical approaches and is delivered in a practical and engaging style. Our facilitators are the best in class professionals in their domains and are subject-matter experts with deep and broad expertise in their professions.

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Some quotes to inspire our website visitors:

Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”Albert Einstein

Wisdom comes not from age, but from education and learning.” – Anton Chekhov

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” – Aristotle

I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” J F Kennedy

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

More leadership quotes at:

Mr Jaren Chan, top global leadership trainer from Singapore/New York