Philanthropy for the Quiet Leadership of Postechians
Philanthropy for the Quiet Leadership of Postechians
  • Professor Soon-Ju Kwon
  • 승인 2014.02.14 22:33
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When I introduce myself as the Director of POSTECH Leadership Center, many people respond curiously. Some have peculiar expression of questioning “POSTECH Leadership Center?” “Engineering students and leadership?” Even members of POSTECH sometimes walk away with baffled expression, “how is leadership related to Postechians?” Our tenets, however, proclaims “POSTECH was established … to produce select young talents into the future global leaders…” Therefore we should not neglect leadership as something irrelevant to us, but should ponder upon the leadership referred in the tenets.
Leadership has many styles. There is even a saying, “there are as many types of leadership as the number of people talking about it.” Most frequently observables are charismatic and heroic leadership. Well known examples are Jack Welch in management and Colonel Hal Moore (stars Mel Gibson) in the film, ‘We were Soldiers’. Strongly influenced by media, we tend to consider that a leader should have such an extrovert style. However, there are many other types of leadership such as servant leadership, coaching leadership. Actually, leadership encompasses both the power of introvert thinking and the external skills. If one polishes and uses only the external leadership skills for personal success, one will eventually live an ordinary life, or even a lonely one.
Recently, Susan Cain, the author of Quiet, pointed out that there have been just as many leaders with power of introvert as extrovert leaders, and it was actually those introvert leaders who contributed more to the development of society throughout history. Good examples are Jesus and Buddha. They went out alone to the wilderness and brought back big thought to our human society. Many other leaders, including Lincoln and Roosevelt, were shy and had difficulties standing in front of public. Scholars, especially in science and engineering, tend to share a trait of being introvert. Their strong power of introvert, however, sometimes overwhelms professional politics in leading the society and nation. Chaim Weizmann, an Organic Chemist, was the first President of Israel and had established Weismann Institute. Angela Merkel, a Physical Chemistry Ph. D, is currently 3rd term Germany’s Prime Minister who led United Germany in stability. Though not a scholar, Andrew Carnegie poured his wealth to establish the foundation of world education and culture. Without saying, these are the results of introspection. The term penetrating their thoughts is philanthropy.
In this regards, we need to ponder over the famous speech in Charlie Chaplin’s movie, The Great Dictator: “You are men! ...You have the power to create machine, power to create make life beautiful... Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness...” This is just more dramatic portrayal of POSTECH’s tenets, i.e. “POSTECH was established with the goals to conduct research … for the betterment of humanity…” Attending university is to grow up as a member of society. Even an academic research is a social activity, which should handle societal interest. Is there any way but to be a philanthropist?
Then, it becomes clearer on what type of leadership a Postechian needs to seek to be a global leader. Probably most students will be quiet leaders based on their internal introspection. Hence, they need to arm themselves with deep contemplation and self-examination. In order to do so, importance lies in ‘what’ to contemplate. If one’s thought is bounded by only personal matters and happiness, one will only live a convenient life of ordinary people. However, if one contemplates the well-being of society, nation, and humankind, no matter how trivial or important, one may naturally establish the foundation of a great leader.
Such an inner power of leadership, hence the good will, cannot suddenly be planted in each hearts. By continuously thinking and being aware about our positions and roles in society, such minds will naturally take place. For these reasons, we need to develop philanthropic knowledge of life through means, such as performing community service, traveling, reading, experiencing cultural activities, meditating, and debating about social issues. In essence, we, Postechians, need to base our leadership on our polished power of introvert self-leadership by setting a philanthropic vision through deep thoughts, planning a scheme for self-development, and enacting such plans. Through such means, Postechians will be able to gain the characteristics of an authentic global leader, as mentioned in the POSTECH tenets.