Kepemimpinan. ‘Benda’ itu yang kerap disandingkan dengan kompleksitas permasalahan di suatu negara. Indonesia tak terkecuali.
Pada tanggal 12-13 April 2012 lalu, di Canberra, sekitar 160an cendikiawan muda dari berbagai penjuru dunia — dari Fiji sampai Bostwana, dari Peru sampai negara di timur tengah — berkumpul dalam sebuah konferensi. Mereka berbagi, bertukarpikiran, dan memberdayakan diri dalam hal kepemimpinan.
Cendikiawan dari Indonesia tentu tak kalah dalam berkiprah. Selain aktif bersuara di pleno, mereka pun kritis-konstruktif dalam menyikapi kondisi negeri. Selain menyoal isu kepemimpinan (dalam berbagai tingkatannya) itu sendiri, terdapat benang merah mengenai prioritisasi ke depan bagi bumi pertiwi. Prioritisasi itu bernama ‘good governance‘ alias tata kelola kenegaraan yang lebih baik lagi.
Tulisan di bawah ini adalah ringkasan dan pandangan hasil observasi dari konferensi di atas. Semoga menjadi saran bagi negeri, khususnya kepada para pemegang amanah, dimanapun berada.
On leadership and prioritization that Indonesia needs
Very recently more than 150 young international scholars gathered in Canberra, Australia, for a forum. The event, called the Leadership for Development Forum (LfDF), was organized by the Australian Government, under the umbrella of AusAID.
In short, these young scholars were exposed to essential skills on leadership. This is because they are expected to, sooner or later, contribute further to their countries. Indonesia was one of the prominent participating countries, as it sent the highest number of scholars.
Having learned from this forum, arguably there are two challenges relevant to what Indonesia faces. The first is leadership and the second is priorities that the country needs to focus on.
On leadership, it is unanimously agreed that it is the most essential element in bringing Indonesia further. As a young democracy where its state system has not yet been well established, leadership becomes very crucial as it gives ultimate direction on where the country is heading.
But certainly leadership is not narrowly constrained in a national elite context. Even though a national leader is arguably the primary determining factor, citizens have the rights to forego leadership roles in whatever levels they belong to.
One important notion of leadership is that it shall be exercised through collective actions. It can be in formal groups such as political parties. It can also be in informal entities through building networks and alliances by, but not limited to, like-minded professionals, intellectuals or entrepreneurs.
For Indonesia, learning and exercising leadership in political parties is perhaps like sailing in unchartered waters. Political parties are indeed important, but so far too many unpleasant stories have come from them rather than optimism. Nevertheless, on a more optimistic note, the more good and brilliant people enter politics, the greater the possibility that they will lead the country in the right direction.
In that regard, scholars, professionals, social entrepreneurs and those who belong to civil society need to do their best to contribute further to the country. No one, however, can predict that any of them may emerge as societal leaders, or even a national leader, in the future.
The next question will be, what is the top development priority that Indonesia needs to focus on? Indonesian scholars who discussed this matter at length in the LfDF had several ideas. As easily predicted, governance tops the list.
The scholars shared the views that governance is the most fundamental challenge that Indonesia needs to address. Corruption and lack of law enforcement are some of the concrete challenges as they are considered the most difficult stumbling blocks preventing the country from emerging from the vicious cycle.
Again, for a country which has yet to form a well-established state system, leadership plays a significant role as it determines success or failure. Taking an example at the local governmental level, even a city mayor like Joko Widodo, or “Jokowi”, can succeed in exercising his leadership in Surakarta, Central Java, even though the city’s previous system was corrupt and dysfunctional.
Another important dimension to bear in mind is that it is actions, not solely ideas, that are the determining factor. Unfortunately, as self-critics, Indonesians are known to be good at creating ideas. We love talking, chatting or even gossiping. But there are arguably not many good ideas that have been executed.
In this regard, it is worth sharing with all present and potential Indonesian leaders that good actions are much awaited. Whoever has the capacities and opportunities, they should act as Indonesia needs actual change, if not to say fundamental change.
The last question is, when shall the leadership role be sought and exercised? Arguably, potential leaders need not wait for it.
Whenever there is a chance to contribute, take it and contribute. If we look around, our communities are always in need of functional and servicing leaders.
Once these leaders are passed through level by level, hopefully they can add to the number of potential national leaders. In the end, they may go further and can even be nominated for the top job in the country.
The writer is an Australian Leadership Award (ALA) scholar currently working on a PhD at the school of politics and international relations, Australia National University, Canberra.
(sumber: the Jakarta Post)