Feature Story – Dato Hj. Abdul Halim



What can Businesses learn from Military Leadership?

We had the honour of inviting Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Abdul Halim, the recently retired First Admiral to share with us leadership principles that he acquired while in the navy.

What we discovered was that the same principles are not only necessary for our personal development, but that they are also relevant to running a successful business.

As a man of few words, Dato Halim leads by his actions. This is an extract taken from his discussion on leadership.

Being a navy officer is a difficult job. Besides being very physically demanding you also have to spend a great deal of your time away from your family. People who join the navy are often not there for the financial reward and they also need to be prepared to sacrifice their life if a crisis situation arises.

So why then, do people join the navy? Because deep down inside, they have a conviction that it is their calling and duty to serve and protect their country. If this same level of serious commitment was put into any job or business, success would be inevitable.

Knowledge is power. Get to know your own Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT). You cannot lead a team without knowing what you are good at and where your weaknesses are. By being aware of these areas, you will be able to discern when to hire the right person to build on your strength and compliment your weakness. This will not only help you strategise better but it will also assist you to build a stronger team.

Next you must know your enemies or competitors. Conduct a SWOT on them, that way, you can be prepared to take on any battle which may arise.

Be Brave
Adopt the attitude to embrace change constantly. Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks. Be prepared that when you take action, and take risks – mistakes may be made. Do not be afraid to make mistakes; learn from them and move on.

“Because deep down inside, they have a conviction that it is their calling and duty to serve and protect their country.”
-Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Abdul Halim First Admiral (RTD)

In English, it means being truthful. Honesty is the best policy even though it may be unpopular. When you are honest, you will not need to utter a hundred lies to cover up on your first lie. Without trust, there is no way your team members can move forward with a sense of unity. Trust is the respect that you give to your fellow team members.

Have a clear vision of where you want to lead your team. Be ambitious with what you want to achieve. I always believe in the ‘special spirit’ that will lead you to doing good, when you are determined to make positive things happen. But first you need the support of your team, and that involves clear communication.

Care for people; care for your team. Be humble, you will meet different people at different stages of their lives who are being placed in your hands. Give them the best training; take heart about their welfare, and create a happy environment. Know that HAPPINESS is a journey not a destination. Learn to forgive; forgiveness is not something you feel – it is something that you do.

Lastly, take care of your body. A healthy lifestyle will not only enhance your memory, it will make you smarter and more creative.

This article was published in the Oct-Dec 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!