Your Letters

Collaborative approach brings out the best in all

Last Sunday's commentary ("Why we should stop grading students on a curve") brings out principles that are so important in community bonding and the quest to build a kinder and others-centred society.

These principles are also applicable in nation building and in promoting the best in our citizens by harnessing teamwork and collaboration.

I am alarmed to see the increasing development of a toxic attitude among our students and adults that "your success is my failure" and that "I have to ensure your failure in order for me to succeed". This is certainly not conducive to building team spirit, collaboration and a kinder society. Rather, it creates distrust and contributes to a poorer performance for the whole group.

Has this attitude got to do with the way we assess our students and evaluate how employees get promoted? Can we advance only at the expense of others? Could a deserving person lose out on a promotion because he did not make himself more prominent?

When I was a student, I had fellow students who helped me in mathematics, and were glad to see the progress I made.

In my practice in medicine, there were tutors and colleagues who helped sharpen my skills in clinical medical diagnosis and management. These people were not hampered in their own progress and continued to excel despite helping me to improve.

A collaborative approach brings out the best in one another and boosts the performance of the group.

We must ask ourselves if we are cultivating individuals and a society that are others-centred rather than self-centred, and whether we are breeding jealousy and selfishness instead of magnanimity, kindness and empathy.

When we cultivate these positive values, we ourselves blossom and become the positive individuals we are meant to be. Then, society will become kinder and more pleasant without compromising excellence.

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 25, 2016, with the headline 'Collaborative approach brings out the best in all'. Print Edition | Subscribe