Asia e University Webinar: Leadership Values – Leading in Times of New Normal

With the Covid-19 pandemic situation that hits globally, we have created the initiative to share priceless knowledge with the audiences through Asia e University (AeU) continued to conduct its Webinar Forum with the theme, “Unperturbed, but We Mutated Stronger”.

On 28th June 2021, we have conducted a Webinar forum with the topic “Leadership Values – Leading in Time of New Normal”. The webinar agenda highlighted the importance of the values in leadership towards organizations or businesses, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. The webinar session was highly awaited by the audiences as the topic was very involved prominent speakers. 

The webinar was opened by a special welcoming address from the  Vice-Chancellor of Asia e University, Emeritus Prof Tan Sri Datuk Dr Nik Mustapha R.Abdullah. He said that Covid-19 has changed a lot of people’s life, almost in every aspect of their well-being. For some of us, changes of this magnitude could be difficult to turn again. 

“As for the theme of webinar indicated, we at AeU will emerge stronger akin towards John D. Rockefeller once said, ‘I always tried to turn every disaster to an opportunity’.

He added that the new normal possess an enormous challenge for leaders in all industries across the world. Today, leaders face enumerable leadership dilemmas and conflicting demands and most of these do not have a simple answer. Hence, he highlighted it is timely to discuss the leadership values in time of the new normal. 

“In this webinar forum, we are pleased to have a panel of three experts, who have the expertise in leadership values to share their first-hand experiences on how to lead in time of new normal,” he said.

The first speaker was Prof Dr Terrence J. Lovat from Australia, who shared his thoughts from academic perspective. Prof Lovat viewed values education as pedagogy, the concept is based on great nine sets of core values that represent the basic values characterize a decent citizen, good person or society. The core values are care and compassion, doing your best, fair go, freedom, honesty and trustworthiness, integrity, respect, responsibility, understanding, tolerance and inclusion. 

The second speaker was Dr Neil Hawkes, based in London who spoke from a practitioner’s side. Dr Hawkes thought values come from the heart as well as cognitive side, the essence of all that make sense of good as human being. They act as an internal moral compass for each person, being their guide to act with integrity. Besides, a value-based leader focuses on universal, positive human values. The impact of it has employees experience an ethical vocabulary, which develops their ethical intelligence, self-leadership, awareness and positive character traits. 

Dr Hawkes emphasized that the importance of building values-based leadership in a company will have a sustainable organization, culture of trust and integrity, supported by a values education program, expressed in a values policy and core ethical values.

Besides, when talking about leadership, leaders have to work out what his personal value are, think about them to make sure his personal values are in alignment with his behaviours. 

“you can see the universities, schools and companies that listed their values, are they really play that in that organization? So besides the leaders’ values, then we have to think about employees values and others,” Dr Hawkes said.

The local speaker was Prof Dato’ Dr Tan Yew Chong, the Adjunct Professor at Asia e University shared as a policy maker and corporate perspective. Sharing he gained a lot of experience regarding leadership values to adopt, adapt and also applied leadership values into his tasks. He used to head the Malaysian Delegation to Brussels in 2019, together with Indonesia counterpart to fight against the issue of low indirect land use of change to palm oil and sustainability issues.

They indirectly adopt, adapt and applied the leadership values to a series of negotiation process, cooperation values, the trust the commitment and the vision how to overturn the situations and favor to the palm oil and sustainability, in the context Malaysia and Indonesia also other producing countries. It was the same applied with the trade and investment negotiation with China, also a tough process. 

“It’s not easy to complete the tasks of our mission, vision and objectives without adapting the strong value-based leadership principle,” Prof Dr Tan said.

The two hours webinar forum was full of informative and inspiring vibes to the audience. The webinar not only caught the attention of local viewers but also people from other countries. Besides, it received many positive feedbacks from the audiences.

Moreover, the question and answer session also was running successfully led by the moderator, Prof Dr Siow Heng Loke. There was a question from the moderator on how to face the challenges during and post Covid-19 and how leadership values play an important role in the organization? Prof Dr Tan answered staying relevant is the most challenging in both private and public sector due to pandemic Covid-19 critical global issue. Leaders need to be adopt of agility, dynamics and public engagement.  Besides, leader need to adopt in life-long learning of new skills. For example, in his organization, he becomes a mentor and mentee for the subordinates. To face the challenges, the leaders must have a clear sense of direction, vision and missions. The value-based leaders need to have the right values to guide the employees actions and optimize organizational performance.

Prof Dr Siow concluded the webinar session by stated that values are important in our life as values can be taught and as well as caught. It is also important to applied values in the organization. Therefore, we need to support the values education programme.