Asih Ifah, a Tanoto Scholarship recipient from Hasanuddin University’s agricultural studies program, recently published an essay in which she reflected on the qualities that distinguish an exceptional leader. She discussed the necessity for a leader to remain calm, to abandon selfishness, to think quickly, and to keep the well-being of the group uppermost in mind. According to Ifah, a leader must also possess the confidence to listen to and respect all points of view while still taking responsibility for the final decision.
Good leaders, wrote Ifah, are born with a certain set of innate qualities that can be developed and strengthened through challenging life experiences. The type of personal charisma that communicates a sense of mission and purpose to others can be a powerful motivational force, and is also among the characteristics of a superior leader. Above all, Ifah stressed the idea of willingness in her essay title and in the development of her theme. To truly be a great leader, she wrote, an individual must be willing to step up to face challenges, to put himself or herself forward as a negotiator and a peacemaker, and to encourage everyone in a group to perform at the highest level possible.
As a Tanoto Scholar, Asih Ifah is already an example of the kind of leadership traits she describes in her essay. The Tanoto Foundation selects its scholarship award recipients based on criteria that include academic ability, commitment to the community, and leadership skills. Higher education students can receive several types of scholarships, some of which provide guaranteed employment in a foundation-affiliated company after graduation.
On top of helping students financially, the Foundation founded by Sukanto Tanoto, also mentor these scholars in the area of entrepreneurship and constantly train them in the area of leadership. Sukanto Tanoto also takes time to meet up with Tanoto Scholars during annual Tanoto Scholars Gathering to share about his leadership experiences.