IS LEADERSHIP B*LLSHIT ?
Some one had mentioned something on the lines of the following message many years back. It has stuck on to me – and has helped me model, or rather, aspire to model the assignments that I have either lead, or taken on myself.
“An organization is the extension of the leaders’ personality”.
We could look around our eco system – not only business, but cultural, political and social. Leadership plays an immesely important role. Of the many people I have met, and continue to do so, I have observed that only about 5-7% actually have the innate desire to take the leadership role.
I define that leadership as the “ability to assume responsibility, without the crutches of hierarchy, escape doors on (lack of) committment, and the fear of failure”. Am I off the mark?
In such a scenario, what is the best course for any organization? Do we seek leaders from outside our sphere to carry forward the vision? Can we invest into creating leaders within? Are there thumb number time-lines and investments that can be defined. I foresee this as a huge challenge in the times to come, as many things are coming so very easily to our youngsters today, EXCEPT LEADERSHIP.
Let us try and debate how is the “Organization an extension of the individuals personality”… Look around us… we always see families practising ‘true values’ passed on to generations by the head of the family. We see degenerated mindsets being passed on from debillitated political minds into the younger ones they mentor. We see ethical systems & processes being created by business houses following ethical governance. I love to say this as a fact that “rotten eggs have to smell, irrespective of their state of rot”. Havent we seen success of leadership within government sectors? Isnt the Delhi Metro rail corporation an example in itself of infrastructure creation? Have we observed the dignified positive action of Dr. Abdul Kalam? Baba Amte, S L Bahuguna, Gandhiji, Ratan Tata, Jack Welch and Narayan Murthy… (many names dont appear here, but they are greats in their own right.)
Let me clarify my thought here on leadership… many a people confuse leadership to the top position. I am CERTAIN that the top bracket is not to be referred as LEADERSHIP… Leadership is the ability of a person to take absolute responsibility of the responsibililty vested, with no fear of failure and display of committment to take forward to a successful completion. On these parameters, dont you think some people at the bottom of the hierarchial pyramid display more leadership skills that the ones in the middle. Take for example Bal Kumar in my company. He reaches the office at 8.30, cleans up the place, switches on the Air-conditioner about 15 minutes before everyone else turns in, serves the right beverage to each employee as per their preference, and ensures that lunch is served at the right time. Going forward, he once mentioned to me that he would like to learn how to operate a computer !!! He punched in some numbers I had asked him to be tabulated on a excel sheet.
Cut to another employee, at the middle level, exuding a lot of promise, but, who had nothing but her travails of her relationship with her ma-in-law to be discussed during work hours.
WHICH ONE OF THE ABOVE TWO DO YOU THING DISPLAYED LEADERSHIP?
That is what I meant ! I am a firm believer that those organizations would succeed where more & more people take ownership, create propreitary interest in their direct assignment, and align it with their peers. All good leaders communicate…. everyday… and appraise their peers (more than seniors) on what they have set out to do, and have achieved. It creates a healthy environment and builds teams.
Someone wisely says – “A leader is not known by the number of followers he has, but, by the number of leaders he creates.” This adage is applicable in our daily lives if we can positively influence (read motivate through our committment & action) our immediate sphere, and EVOLVE OURSELVES AS LEADERS.