PUTRAJAYA: A good leader will put aside ego and rectify mistakes if it benefits those he leads, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said ego tends to make people not see their mistakes or refuse to admit them, hence they would not be able to correct them.
“One value you can do without is ego. Some are of the opinion that ego can be positive as it drives you to be competitive.
“That to me is more likely to be determination. Ego is about self and not those you lead,” he said at a dialogue with youth, titled “Youth Ask, Tun Answers”, at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here today.
Underlining values and qualities that would be important to be a leader, Mahathir said two of them were integrity and honesty.
He said if a leader had neither of these values, then the people would have a leader who was corrupt and untrustworthy.
“Secondly, work hard and take pride in your work. These values make you a person with integrity and honesty,” he said.
Mahathir said a good leader should also embrace lifelong learning as knowledge was infinite and never static.
“The more you read the more you realise that there is so much more to read and learn,” he said.
On youth development, he said the current leaders faced a challenge to figure out what would be the best policies and programmes that would prepare them for the future.
Mahathir said there was a delicate balance in preparing these policies and programmes as adults might think they know what was best for the youth.
However, he said if the youth did not respond or find that these programmes did not resonate with them, then the programmes would be a failure and could even end up being counter-productive.
He said the government had taken a bold step when it decided to appoint a young man to be the youth and sports minister, in an apparent reference to Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, despite some quarters expressing concern over his lack of experience.
“We believe that where he lacks in experience, he makes it up with his enthusiasm, idealism and determination. And there are enough experienced old men in the Cabinet whom he can tap from.
“Hopefully, he will mature and discover much experience in leadership and hopefully impart them to the youth after him,” he said.