Redha reminds us that one’s leadership journey can be a beautiful pain.
By PRETHIBA ESVARY
Caution: Spoilers ahead.
The loud horn went off and the splashing sounds of water filled the stadium as the swimmers dived into the pool, kick-starting the race.
As the excitement and cheers reverberated across the stadium, one of the contestants, Danial (played by Izzy Reef), stops swimming mid-lap.
He responded to the deafening cheers by covering his ears and producing repetitive sounds from his mouth to muffle out the noise.
Recognising his son’s discomfort, Danial’s father, Razlan (played by Namron), beckoned to the crowd behind him to be quiet.
Once the noise subsided, Danial however remained stationary. His swimming coach, Azim (played by Remy Ishak), yells out words of motivation to encourage Danial to complete his lap.
When Azim unveiled an image of a dolphin on his t-shirt—an object of special interest to Danial—he resumes swimming and completes the lap.
Not disabled, but differently abled
The scene described above is one of the highlights of the newly released local movie, Redha.
Co-produced by husband and wife Ku Mohamad Haris and Tunku Mona Riza, Redha depicts the tale of a couple—upon discovery of their only son, Danial’s condition—who must accept the harsh reality of raising an autistic child, and trudge through difficult times.
The movie opens our eyes to the perplexing truths of raising a child who faces difficulties in social interaction and communication, and in the process, also teaches us some valuable leadership lessons.
Being accountable means you are answerable and willing to accept the outcomes or results of a project or activity. But responsibility goes much further. It is the mindset that says, “I am the person who must make this happen…”
In the movie, Danial’s mother, Alina (played by June Lojong), observed that there was something unusual about her son.
She then took matters into her own hands by taking Danial (little Danial played by Harith Haziq) to see a doctor, despite the resistance from her husband aka Lan, who was initially convinced that nothing was wrong with Danial.
When Danial’s diagnosis was confirmed, Alina took the responsibility of teaching and guiding her son with his learning process.
Similar to Alina, a good leader is one who is willing to take the responsibility of executing tasks and making hard decisions for the best interest of the organisation and its employees.
#2 Supporting others
Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: “To lead people, walk beside them. . . ”
One of the formulas for great leadership is supportive leadership, whereby leaders listen to their employees, and offer guidance and assistance where needed, to bring out the best in everyone and elevate productivity.
In the movie, Ina’s sister, Sasha (played by Nadiya Nisaa), and Ina’s high school friend, Katrina (played by Susan Lankester), were quick to lend their support to Ina when Danial was diagnosed with autism.
It was a challenge for them, but their efforts were fruitful as when Ina read out a story from a book which they had created about Danial and a dolphin, Danial paid attention and eventually fell asleep.
As demonstrated by Sasha and Katrina, when leaders lend the right support to employees who need it, a positive outcome can develop.
Lan was in denial about Danial’s condition from the moment Ina revealed that there was something unusual about their son. Fate took a turn for the worse when Ina passed away and Lan was left to take care of Danial.
He observed how Danial seemed to respond positively to Azim—a guest staying at the Wisana Resort where he worked, who also happened to be a swimming coach for the Super Sharks—and he realised that there was a way to get through to his son. He simply had to try, that was all.
Fast forward eight years and Danial is a grown teenager and is able to understand and respond to instructions.
Towards the end of the movie, Lan had this to say: “Only through darkness can one see the light.”
This statement is true enough as without hardships and failures, a leader will not be able to learn from their mistakes and go on to become great.
Influential leadership expert, John C. Maxwell, once said: “Perseverance requires determination. If you take the time and effort to cultivate tenacity, you can achieve the impossible.”
In Redha, upon understanding his son’s love for being in the water, Lan decides to sign Danial up for swimming classes with Azim.
Despite the challenges of having to train a child that demonstrates repetitive behaviour and has difficulty with social interactions, Azim demonstrated sheer perseverance during the one-to-one lessons.
Similar to Azim, a good leader is one who does not succumb to intense pressure, and is able to persevere in leading a team during tough times, to reach common goals.
Redha is a movie that would definitely tug at your heartstrings and make you realise that things do not always go as planned.
Leaders who go on to become great are the ones who are prepared for the unexpected and are able to make decisions during challenging times.