Curious about Leadership !!!

global team

The day I passed my school and entered in graduation, one debate was very common i.e. “Leaders are born or can be developed or taught”.  Answer is …..Let’s find it out 

Leadership is a mysterious intangible. All nations / organizations seek it constantly because it is the key of greatness. 

“A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon Bonapart”.

Leadership is required for family…for city…for armies… for nation…for team…for a movement and many more. In this list simplest and smallest entity is family but there also we need a leader who can lead the family in right direction otherwise problems like juvenile delinquency begins.

Contrary to the old saying that leaders are born and they can’t be made, I always believe that the art of leading can be taught, and it can be mastered. You must have seen some very average student of your college, who are currently doing very well in their jobs and leading their team very effectively. I have also seen few such people.  What enabled them to make a turnaround from an average, introvert student to a successful leader? It is sure that there must be something which can be developed and those guys have mastered it. Let me write down super 8 basic characteristics which I have extracted out from my readings and analysis. Believe me, these characteristics can be developed and mastered.  

  • Confidence:  All the traits which we will discuss are important but I feel that this should be the first because if a leader does not believe in himself, no one else will. But confidence must be acquired. At every stage, there must be a steady build-up of assurance, a conviction of competence based of training and the gradual accumulation of experience and skill.  I can share many incidents where a person was great leader in his department (e.g. Engineering) and was leading the team superbly but when the same person was transferred to other department (e.g. Admin or Marketing) he struggled and failed to inspire the people. Reason: Lack of skill & experience in that field.
  • Timely Decisions: If you combine alertness, imagination and foresight it gives you a composite trait – called Timing.  Before standing down as CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates has created a two year orderly transition to three people – Steve Ballmer ( CEO), Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie.  Leadership is about knowing when to go, great leadership is about not leaving a vacuum behind. The timing of your decision is just as important as the decision you make.
  • Lucidity: A leader must be able to think logically, explore & judge alternatives, make decisions and then convey his thoughts coherently.”The man who can think and does not know how to express what he thinks is at the level of him who cannot think” – Pericles.
  • Tenacity: Tenacity is the quality displayed by someone who just won’t quit — who keeps trying until they reach their goal. Most of the people you admire have shown real tenacity in achieving their goals. Anything really worth doing takes persistence, perseverance, and stubborn determination. Being a great cricket player requires real gifts, no doubt, but even the most gifted player won’t make it to the international level without the tenacity required to make the long & hard journey. The leader not only must have this ability himself, he also inspires it in others.
  •  Vigorous:  A leader must be willing to do everything that he asks of his followers and sometime even more. He must be able to work harder, concentrate longer, ready to take extra risks, carry the extra burden and go extra mile. This energy comes from within but to evoke it, you need to learn to take responsibilities and lead by example.
  • Power to Attract: This is a quality which is developed because of other characteristics which we have already discussed above and the charisma ( more to personality). It’s the quality that provides magnetism to the leader and helps in drawing the followers, makes them to trust, make them eager to work and sacrifice themselves for him.
  • Caring & Helpful: Have you ever think to go with a person who never cares about your concerns? No, no one will. Then this becomes a very important for a leader to take interest in his people and make them feel that he really cares about them and their problems. Leaders are always concerned about others and this helps them to see the bigger picture of society, nation or orgnaisation.  This is a sign of imagination and vision.
  • Faith: What will happen if all the above 7 qualities are there in person but he is not sure that the people with him will deliver or not? Certainly, the team will be demoralized and lose his confidence. So its important that a leader must believe in his people and as well as the goal towards which he is leading them. Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell, but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them. 
    Blaise Pascal

Now the question is how can we develop such attributes or create an environment which helps in development of such attributes?  These all are cultivated with time at different stages. For example – Confidence level can be improved in child by his parent through appreciation and development of special skills. In the same way other characteristics can also be nurtured at different stages of life. But the foundation of all these characteristics can be placed at childhood, if parents are willing to go beyond the monotonous education.

global team1

 Friends, I am not an expert on this topic but I have gone through good number of leadership sessions (thanks to my organisation)  and from this article I want to tell you that if you are willing to put honest efforts and time in right directions then no one can stop you from emerging like a Leader.   

 

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