Name: Gibson Warel
Organisation: NGO PROmotion Incorporated (NGO PRO Inc)
Hi, my name is Gibson Warel and I am 32 years of age. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and have been working with Non-Government Organizations in my country for almost 6 years. I love to be with people and solve problems. I think facilitating positive change in communities remains my utmost passion as I believe in contributing value to my country. There are actually alot of challenges in terms of illiteracy levels, poverty and livelihood conditions that are affecting especially the indigenous population on a large scale. Corruption is also rife in my country and being a leader was always a daily challenge to get the trust from the people I work with. I believe in accountability, patience, industriousity, perseverance, the will to live, and the cultural norms that are actually seen as best practices to solving conflicts or minimizing them. I think leadership remains the most important aspect that needs more input and development in my country. God Bless Papua New Guinea.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Gibson's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Dealing with illiteracy is the single most challenging experience I had gone through in my entire leadership experience. Illiteracy is an impediment to the growth and progress of the societies that I had worked with. In my community I have seen mediocrity stealing away peoples precious future and lives. And with the coming of a new modern way of living with specialization and knowledge in different fields coming into play, I have seen my people getting 'culture shock' to adopt and learn these ways of lifestyle. My people are always accustomed to the traditional practices of communialism in a mechanical society. They are the jack of all trade and value is developed through this solidarity. However, the changes that modernity brought has left our people puzzled in terms of how to think, strategize and pursue happiness not only as an individual but as social groups and cohorts of the communities.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was naturally born a leader. I started my earlier primary schooling days with being appointed as the class captain. I was a bit cocky and always challenge my superiors to think on what they propose as good for the school or my class mates. I usually faced criticisms but I developed a resilient attitude and continued striving for the greater good of my classmates. When I went to high school and then to the secondary, I lived by a disciplined ethos and that made the teachers to select me as one of the prefects of the school. I was also the elected as the first male president of our religious sect. I then was selected as a youth leader in the community and was vocal in conflict resolution gatherings in the village with notable leaders of the community. When I went into the University, I was given multiple presidency of various students association and was able to be given a bigger platform to exercise my leadership with intellects. After completing my University studies I went straight into work and that is how I developed and started my carrier as an influential social worker in the indigenous communities. I see myself as a leader and I believe I will become a member of my provincial district in the coming years. I aspire to become a leader because I have seen injustice and I need to put my input to minimize it and create value in my people and growth in my country.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I love to plan, organize and doing things instead of just talking. Making decisions is very important to me and I like to keep myself productive at all times. When I wake up and when I lay down, all must be for the greater good, firstly for my health, then my family's welfare and to my tribe and the greater community. I engage in my work as I have goals to achieve. Year in, Year out, I plan and I execute. I also have time to evaluate my outputs and set indicators to achieve the expected outcomes I intend to achive. I see my life as a project that will serve the human race.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Be the last person to talk. When in a meeting, its always good to allow people's ideas, solutions, feedback before I give mine. I think a leader is a person who knows how to use the potential of his or her team for the maximum good. There is a saying that goes like this, "If you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk together." I believe in having like a good team and knowing how to get the right people to do the right job at the right time to achieve what is expected.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
A brief history of Human Beings - Homo Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. This book has really changed the traditional way that I was thought to believe in. I understand human beings and see them as social animals that can adapt to change and can also work together in large numbers. Religion, Money and State has a profound impact upon the human society and I believe leadership is the antidote of the human chaos in this world.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Be true to yourself. Always find a niche. Look at the problems around you and be the change you wish to see in this world. Do not be a mediocre person but always seek personal development and set goals to be an excellent catalyst of change.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I love natural born leaders. I have read biographies for leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandi, Ben Carson, Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, etc. I cant tell a story because I will run out of words. I only use the lessons that I learnt from these leaders but I contextualize them to my societal problem-solution techniques of helping my communities.