‘A leader challenges status quo’

LEADERSHIP TRAITS:G. Srinivasan, president, GOVEL Trust, giving away Dr.G.Venkataswamy Endowment Oration Award to Allen Foster, Co-Director, International Centre for Eye Health, in Madurai on Thursday.— Photo: S. James  

Passion, perseverance and enabling people around made one a good leader, said Allen Foster, Co-Director, International Centre for Eye Health, on Thursday.

Delivering the Dr. G. Venkataswamy Endowment Oration on ‘Leadership: relevance to eye health’ on the birth anniversary of founder of Aravind Eye Hospital here, Dr. Allen listed qualities that made a good leader. Leadership, he said, always had a positive connotation but could also be used for negative outcomes, as in the case of Hitler.

“Leadership is not about a few special people as all of us are leaders in our own way,” he said. But it depended on how best one was able to harness leadership skills and use them for common good.

Dr. Allen believed that values determined whether one’s leadership was good or bad. Coupled with values, a good leader had vision about what he wanted to achieve in a lifetime. A combination of values and vision gave the passion to lead. He looked at challenging status quo as an important trait of a leader.

One had to fight a battle with perseverance while challenging status quo. But good leadership would not be complete without enabling people around “to do it with you,” he said, while referring to the success of Dr. Venkataswamy as a leader in preventing avoidable blindness.

Dr. Allen, who received the Dr. G. Venkataswamy Memorial Oration Award from G. Srinivasan, president, Govel Trust, and P. Namperumalswamy, chairman emeritus, Aravind Eye Care System, spoke about how Dr. Venkataswamy combined all those qualities to emerge as a leader, though he was not a great speaker or a wealthy person or an imposing personality.

R. D. Ravindran, chairman, Aravind Eye Care System, recalled how the Aravind model, evolved by Dr. Venkataswamy, was being replicated in various countries.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 7:20:52 AM |

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