“We are all leaders; leadership is not a position it is a mindset”
Leadership quality, or rather the lack of it is one of the main ill from which our society suffers today. The leadership I refer to here is not the political leadership or the leadership in the uniformed forces . Leadership, is not just the domain of politicians or uniformed forces nor the preserve of select industries. Leadership qualities are a must in every human, for the society to progress or at least function as per laid down norms. I am reminded of an advertisement campaign run by the Times of India Newspaper group (Lead India ) , advertisement which prominently figured in last couple of years on national TV. The advertisement featured heavy rains and a road blocked due to a fallen tree . All vehicles are lined up along the road waiting for the tree to be removed. No effort is made by anyone to remove the tree trunk from the road till a young school boy reaches and attempts to push the tree on his own. Seeing the boy initially other children join followed by adults and succeed in pushing the tree away from road. This is one of the finest examples of leadership. The boy exhibited all the qualities a leader should have. These are the quality which every human has, but for various reasons , external and internal, is not willing to exhibit or exploit.
If we analyse the qualities the boy exhibited you will realise that all of us have them but are reluctant to use them .What are the qualities the boy in the advertisement exhibited?
The quality the boy exhibited is he good ‘Values’ or Sanskars , as we may call them in India . This is one of the foremost requirements for a good leader. It is the good values passed on by the parents , teachers / elders which have a major role in the leadership abilities of any human .The good values inculcated by elders will never allow a child to do a wrong or see and tolerate a wrong. It is the Values which give him the confidence of believing in himself and help him /her in the decision making or rather make right decisions for the good of all.
A leader faces any challenge with confidence rather he sees an opportunity in any challenge…….an opportunity to excel.
Decision making is another problem in our society. Starting from a family to any group , usually all actions are dependent on decision of one person who is invariably the head of the family or the group. There is hardly any discussion before arriving on a decision .This has become our mentality over a period of time and thus most of us lack decision making ability even as we grow up and always look towards someone else to take decision on our behalf. Decision making, based on values, has to be inculcated in a person from childhood and this will hold him / her in good stead throughout the life . Emphasis should be on making informed decisions for the good of the family / group/society, keeping all pros and cons in mind .This ability to take right decisions will prevent us from doing wrongs in our daily life, which may include even things like not littering the surroundings. The young boy took a decision of attempting to remove the tree from the road, without waiting for anyone .He led by personal example another quality of a good leader. What he achieved by leading by personal example?
The boy succeeded in motivating and making everyone in the crowd believe that it was within their capability to remove the tree. People realised their power . This is another quality of a leader , keeping the group united in crisis and make them realise their potential , infuse confidence in them by personal example and leading from the front .The boy by his action helped others in taking the right decision of joining hands to clear the road . This is another ability of a leader to help his subordinates to take right decision. A good leader will always endeavour to encourage his team members in decision making and leading . The number of leaders he/ she can create is the true reflection of a leader.
Empathy, to feel the pain and problems of all people around is another quality of a good leader .This can only be inculcated by being with the group and living the problems .If one can empathise , he /he will be always in a better position to take a decision for the good of the society.
Transparency not just in finances but also in decision making is a must for a leader . Transparency is the hall mark of a good leader. A leader can never err in his intent , where as error of judgement may be acceptable.
A good leader is a good team member. For a leader ‘us’ is what matters and not I. Bigger the circle of us the better it is , for there will be more number of helping hands available whenever required .
A good leader should have the ability to see goodness around him. He understands every man has something good in him and uses him for that. He nurtures the good qualities of the team members and makes all efforts to help them in overcoming the shortcomings, if any. He/she will give credit to subordinates for the good they do and praise them.
A good leader never hesitates in accepting a mistake. One of the greatest quality of a good leader is his ability to take a ‘U’ turn moment he / she realises the mistake.
A good leader is a good learner and ever willing to learn from everyone and everything around him. One should understand that change is the only constant in this world and one has to keep pace with the change by continuously educating oneself and upgrading skills. Learning can be from elders, subordinates, peers, books etc,
Listening is another good quality of a leader, He should be a patient listener and allow his team members to speak out their mind. This way he will not only gain from the collective wisdom of his team but also arrive at an informed decision for the betterment of the organisation as also help develop leadership qualities in his team members.
Don’t we all have all these qualities in us? These qualities are passed on by elders / teachers to the younger in every family / school. One does not have to be an MBA from renowned management universities to learn or master these qualities.
A leader should his head high and look into the eye of his team members and lead, He / she will never shy away from facing the world as there is nothing to hide and he / she knows the job.
“Value based eye contact leadership is what is desired from a leader and that is what he will give”
“A Good leader educates….. empowers the subordinates…..works for the growth of organisation”