Interview with Aldrin E. Arumugam


General Manager Brunei
Singapore Airlines

What are some of the steps one can take to prepare him or herself to be a better leader?
Observe people who are good leaders, we can learn so much from the phenomenal leaders that we have had throughout the world. Again, we ask the question are good leaders born or bred? I believe that you have the natural born leaders and you have the leaders that develop. Both of whom need to be be taught certain fundamentals of leadership. However, the important thing is to translate what we have learnt and infuse it with your own style of leadership to come up with a winning formula.

What are some of the key qualities you look for in a leader?
Drive, focus and intellect are essential, but these attributes will be nothing without charisma and the ability to lead by example. A leader is not afraid to make decisions and should have the resilience and tenacity to take on challenges and failures, as well as celebrate the successes with his team giving due credit. Many leaders today are afraid to share the success with the team/organisation and to give credit to them. A pat on the back goes a long way to garner dedication, loyalty and determination.

In your opinion, what differentiates a good leader from a great one?
A good leader can lead, achieve the mission/goal and command respect, but a great leader is one who has the ability to touch every single person in the team, motivate them, keep them driven and to continue to focus on the mission/goal even after the person (leader) has gone.

Tell us a story of a leader that has influenced you the most.
Mahatma Gandhi is one such leader who had a quiet, unassuming style. With his simple (not simplistic), clear message and focus, he moved “boulders”. How was this simple man so influential? He believed in what he preached and he led by example. He made the time to listen and learn from the interactions he had with everyday folk, as well as with world leaders. He was genuinely convincing and contrite in his belief. He had some similarities with a recent powerhouse…Steve Jobs.

This article was published in the Jul-Sept 2015 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!