Breeding Incompetent leaders….

‘I would have done a much better job’ or ‘even a fresher will make better decisions’ or ‘What wrong did I do in life to deserve such a …..leader’, a vast majority of subordinates get this thought often during their career but unfortunately most just accept it the way it is, keep applauding even the worst of the decisions taken by incompetent leaders while some do take a perceived bold step of resigning and moving on but even that has no effect on the functioning of the leaders. It is an established fact that majority of people who prematurely resign from a job do so because of the leadership and seldom for other reasons.

Why do incompetent people rise to be leaders? Well, there are multi reasons for incompetency getting encouraged especially in a country like India; the main being our mindset, most of us are brought up with a fixed picture of a leader as someone who carries large number of professional degrees preferably from some foreign university (Every appointment is linked to a degree which matters more than the experience), one who is a good orator, what he speaks matters more than what he actually means (people prefer leaders who carry a charismatic persona, are good entertainers and apt at making fun of the opposition), someone who knows the art of improving production, it does not matter how he does it; profit matters more than the people. The surname a man carries at times matters more than the name he has made for himself by his actions. In some cases, the gender bias props up a less competent male to lead over a more competent lady.

At times it is the second rung leadership which prefers a weak leader on top as the perceive that it gives them more power and freedom of action forgetting the basic tenet that a good leader creates more leaders and a weak or destructive leader finally destroys the organisation.

Incompetent leadership, insensitive to the need of the people (the working hands) can never ensure a sustained growth; in the long run a union of satisfied hands will give better results than a lone arrogant and aggressive leader. A sustained growth requires a right mix of welfare, training, availability of resources and push. It is not just the professional qualification and the belief which can ensure success, experience and maturity are as much a requirement. 

Leadership is not about using people with a firm focus on increasing production/ profits but rather a leader aims to empower the subordinates, helps them realise their capabilities, makes them feel wanted which finally leads to increased output. People perform better under a competent and trustworthy leader rather than under just a professionally well qualified one irrespective of whether the leader is he or she.

Decision making has for long remained the bane of our political and professional leadership in most cases. The handling of the crisis created by the virus has exposed the leadership the world over and most performed below par rather most exhibited their incompetence at the first lockdown stage itself. Unfortunately surnames and oratory skills do not bestow decision making abilities on a person; it requires education, experience, and emotional sensitivity more than anything else to make good decisions. A gender balanced society where both men and women have equitable say in decision making will always produce better leaders.

It is high time that humility, professional competence, resource management skills and effectiveness start getting preference over mere degrees, fool hardy confidence, oratory skills, charismatic personality, family names and gender in selection of leaders.

What is in a name?

Post the birth the first real gift the parents give to the child is the name; a gift reflecting their love, blessings, concerns and to an extent expectation. Parents/ elders take as much pride in selecting the name for a girl child as they must be taking in case of the boys then why it is that most girls are expected to be just surnames after marriage; their own maiden name which their parents had given with so much love, the name they had lived with pride till then is lost somewhere between the so called responsibilities and the routine of life. In some communities the girls are given a new name post the marriage, a symbol of starting life afresh (Are they expected to forget whatever they had done or achieved before that?).

Name is the first real possession over which a child has exclusive rights, it gives every child the unique identity, the surname/ family names are inheritances which come thereafter. A surname without a name does not carry much meaning whereas the name conveys its desired meaning on its own, does not require any external support but still a majority of us take pride in displaying our surnames while preferring to convert the name to mere initials. Still people are ready to do anything blindly for the sake of family name and honour while not bothering to do much about creating a mark for own name in life.

Going back in history rather study of our mythology and old scriptures makes it abundantly clear that though casteism was prevalent but it was the name which mattered more than the surname; starting from Lord Rama or Krishna or Lakshman, Yudhistra, Bhim, Arjuna, everyone refers to them by their first name, even the Maharanis or the common ladies are referred to by their first names like Parvati, Sita or Rukmini and not as Mrs Rama or Mrs Krishna than why this change over a period of time. In ancient India it was always the girl who had the right of selecting or rejecting a groom, everyone will remember the story of how Sita approved of Rama in a Swayamvara, she could have rejected him and it would have not made much of a difference to anyone, the sky wouldn’t have fallen. Then why this total transformation in the modern times where generally boys have all the say. Why should the girl give up her family name and even the name after marriage?

No girl is born and destined to die just as a surname. She has as much right as any men to make a mark on the world stage and live up to the name her parents had given so proudly. I am not for boys or girls being singularly given the right of selection or rejection, why can’t both have an equal say? This issue will be generally resolved if we start looking beyond the surnames or rather just start looking at the names.