International Asia Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad ranked 47th on Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders...

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad ranked 47th on Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders list

The list says that all of the individuals included this year have one thing in common—courage.

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Petaling Jaya–Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad, in his 93rd year and second term as Malaysia’s Prime Minister, has gained yet another accolade. Fortune ranked him 47th out of the 50 greatest leaders in the world, in a list that was released on April 18.

The list says that all of the individuals included this year have one thing in common—courage.

“It’s striking how courage is a theme running powerfully through this year’s list. Whether in business, government, education, sports, or NGOs, these leaders take action before others do, leading from out front, where the risk is often dire and their own future least certain. Everyone has something to lose, and many on our list risk possessions that most people value highly: reputation, career, fortune, esteem.”

Included in this year’s list are such diverse individuals as New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (ranked 2nd), US Special Counsel Robert Mueller (3), Chinese billionaire Pony Ma (4), teenage environmental activist Great Thunberg (6), actor/activist Michael J. Fox (22) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (42) and Malaysia’s very own Dr M in 47th place.

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Fortune’s profile on Dr Mahathir recounts his 22-year first term as Prime Minister, but more importantly, his emergence from seclusion to best Najib Razak in an astonishing win in Malaysia’s General Election in May last year.

Dr Mahathir’s victory was all the more shocking since Mr Najib’s party, Barisan Nasional, had been in power for six decades.

The profile also talks about his monumental task of addressing his country’s problems of graft and corruption.

“Mahathir is now tackling the endemic corruption plaguing the country’s institutions and has brought Najib to court on charges connected to the 1MDB scandal, a sprawling malfeasance case that has ensnared Wall Street bankers and government officials (Najib denies the charges).

Mahathir and his party are now moving to protect judicial independence and press freedom, recognizing that they help keep a democracy honest.”

Dr Mahathir is the oldest world leader at present and will be turning 94 on July 10. As the profile notes, he is “writing an unexpected chapter in his legacy.”

Last Monday, April 29, the Malaysian Prime Minister received the Asian Association of Management Organisations (AAMO) Visionary Leader and Nation Builder award.

During his acceptance speech he said, “Since I am receiving this award from an association of management organisations, I will try to share some of my experience in managing the nation.

When I was the Prime Minister the first round, I was frequently asked what were my secrets in being able to manage a nation which is so diverse that almost each segment has a different set of demands and priorities.

There are no secrets other than the most basic and logical concept when we are dealing with a diverse group of people – we first find what are the common grounds and common purposes.

Once we have established what are the common grounds and purposes, we can build on them and after that, these common grounds and purposes will become the rallying point which we can claim to have achieved unity in diversity.

It sounds easy but I am sure, you are all aware of how difficult it is. Herein lies the actual secrets to it – hard work, determination, purposefulness, drive, focus and giving everyone a hearing among others…”

Fortune’s list endeavours to explain the secret behind these leaders’ success.

“An inescapable question: How do great leaders find such courage while most people don’t? Research points to a personality style called ‘hardiness,’ identified among business executives by psychologist Suzanne C. Kobasa decades ago and validated many times among the broader population since then. Hardy individuals don’t see the world as threatening or see themselves as powerless against large events; on the contrary, they think change is normal, the world is fascinating, they can influence events, and it’s all an opportunity for personal growth. In studies of fourth-year West Point cadets, Col. Paul T. Bartone of National Defense University found that hardiness was by far the best predictor of which cadets, male and female, would earn the highest leadership ratings.”/TISG

Read related: Dr Mahathir: For as long as I’m alive, I won’t let Malaysia fall

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