Leadership can save or ruin an organisation

I was intrigued, thrilled and inspired by Mr Hiroshi Mikitani's column ("Japan's new business language - English"; April 25).

Mr Mikitani, the founder and chief executive of Rakuten, Japan's largest e-commerce site, exhibits a very powerful and no-nonsense, but also humane and compassionate, leadership style.

He meant business when he decreed that, for the long-term survival of the company in an interconnected Internet age, it would do all of its business in English.

Strict adherence to his policy has reaped rewards, both in terms of business expansion and team morale. But his biggest win, I believe, is respect.

I have personally seen two types of leadership styles.

The first, exemplified by two founders of a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), displays integrity when conducting business, as well as managing the firm. Both founders gained much respect from their team, clients and business partners.

The second, seen in the founder of another SME, shows nothing but ego. This leader did not walk the talk and belittled his team, which resulted in high staff turnover, loss of trust and credibility and, consequently, a fall in revenue.

Leadership can either save or ruin an organisation.

Koh Wee Leng (Ms)