Hong Kong Students Protest

"The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people."
Woodrow Wilson~

One morning, I was having my breakfast at the local Hawker Centre when a lot of people having their breakfast were talking about the Hong Kong Students Protest. I was listening to their discussion about the student demonstrators took to the street of blocking traffic on the key streets to the financial centre started on 27/9/2014 night. Will the protest be ended up like the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4 1989 that many people were killed after which students and other demonstrators had occupied for seven weeks in Beijing? At this juncture, it appeared unlikely that the students protest will end soon. 

Certainly I am not here to discuss the political will of the students to demand on the democracy will for Hong Kong people. Nevertheless, this incident has given us much food for thought on the question: “Do leaders need to listen?”  Advising leaders to listen can sound like perplexing. At times, do you think the leaders will listen to the problems that they are facing? But, sadly, this is always not the case.

In theory, listening is part of communication skills important for a leader. But many a times, leaders would rather listen to their stories that have been filtered. Leaders can be misled for making decisions if they are given one-sided stories. Many people can be leaders, but few will have the great power to benefit others with great purpose by listening to the truth from their people.  When the leaders are not listening, then things can get worse. Listening is a skill that underlies all leadership skills which leaders sometimes have taken it for granted.

In today’s fast-paced and demanding world, leaders need to connect with people in any organization. Peter Drucker was a great management guru, and he once said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said."  This is what is needed most from leaders. A leader needs listening skill to communicate regularly with his people.  

Allow me to share with you one final thought to reflect on – good leaders do not just listen to those who agree with you, but listen to those who may confront you or challenge you. I do believe what Ralph Nicholas said, "The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them."

The Hong Kong Students Protest is an incident that prompted leaders to hear what others wanted. Listening will allow leaders to excel in leadership. Certainly it will provide leaders with endless possibilities if they really hear what others have to say.


~ Written by  Mr. Liaw Fenn Yenn, TARUC Branch Campus Head on 10/10/2014~


Back to Index of October - December 2014