Saturday, July 10, 2010

Servant Leadership

Toastmasters news. Division B had their TLI (stands for Toastmasters Leadership Institute) training today for club officers. The usual commonplace stuff to inform the latter who didn’t read their club officers’ manuals! Taman Indrahana Toastmasters Club is my only Division B club which sent the full complement of club officers to this TLI – in fact, today’s session was attended by more non-Division B participants than Division B club members! Still, Lim Lay Kun, the Organizing Chair did a marvelous job.

I found two speeches this afternoon to be conflicting. Division B Governor, Irene Lee in her opening address talked of her ambition – that every Division B club must endeavor to achieve the President’s DCP award. For non-Toastmasters, DCP stands for Distinguished Club Program, the highest level of recognition that is the general measure of club success. She is really into chasing and pursuing club points in order to find glory for Division B and by extension, self-promotion. This is a misplaced priority, an unwise enterprise. Furthermore, immediately after, District 51 Governor Thannimalai extolled his philosophy of putting “members first” in everything we do – this is the essence of “servant leadership” – this means that the servant leader serves the members he/she leads which implies that the latter are an end in themselves rather than a means to an organizational purpose. In Irene’s case, the quest for President’s DCP points takes precedence for it can realize her Division B theme, which is “Soaring Together to Greatness” – this puts the club first, and members second. It is worth rememebring that by serving members' needs, we will surely attain the recognitions she so desires, and not the other way round!

Just in case, you are one of those who fails to understand what the above means, servant leaders devote themselves to serving the needs of organization members; focus on meeting the needs of those they lead; and develop employees to bring out the best in them. And that is what every Toastmaster expects! Too often, we forget this! And that is my gripe! The individual joins Toastmasters for self, not for the organization!

I was surfing the Net and eyeballing news stories from diverse sources when I stumbled upon an inviting article on Yahoo! News (webpage It was about Britain’s “happiest” workers. And we already know it, but this time, there’s a turn to it, and it is that money may not be the answer to all of life's troubles, but earning £50,000 a year – and not a penny more – could make you among the happiest in Britain, a survey found.

Workers who get paid £50,000 ($75,840) a year were the happiest bunch among those in the £10,000 to £70,000 wage bracket, with one in five people saying that they had never felt more content with their lives.

The wealthier, the more miserable, with people who earn above £70,000 admitting that they felt less happy than those who take home £50,000 a year, a survey by money management website found.

"With a salary of 50,000 you've got the combination of perhaps a personality where you're more easily content with your lot but also at a salary which is very much above the national average," Ed Bowsher, head of consumer finance at said.

"Perhaps it's also partly driven by your kind of personality. The kind of people who have the ambition to get a job that is earning 70,000 or more may be the kind people who are never going to be satisfied."

Challenging the belief that that money cannot buy happiness, 72 percent of respondents confessed that having more cash would make them happier, with 40 per cent of people earning £20,000 or less saying that they hardly ever felt truly happy.

My immediate thought is, what about us in Malaysia? At what salary level will we be "happiest"? I suspect for Asians, the propensity to "feel happy" is likely to be at a higher salary grade. Maybe, Asians love money too much? A good research topic!

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