09 March 2009

What should be the vision of a leader?

It has been a while after starting my journey towards leadership. There has been a lot of turbulence and inner chattering happen inside me. A lot of questions been raised, some of them are answered and some of them are left unanswered, some of them are thoughtful and some of them are thoughtless. One such question that came to my mind was “What should be the vision of a leader?” While businesses and organizations can set vision against revenue targets, customer satisfaction, growth and many fancy B-School jargons, the leadership is never thought in school. The leadership has to be an experiential learning. Either you need to have a real environment or simulated environment where you are able to create and nurture your leadership skills. Like human evolution, the leadership qualities have to evolve within you. I would like to present you one such experience and a thought that struck me during my travel. Here it goes.

Leadership is not a position, not a power, not even a feeling. Leadership is being. Why we say that Mahatma Gandhi as a leader, why we say that Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela as a leader. Did they do all the possible best things to their men? Did they ever been given any power or position when they had been called as leader? No. But, why they have been called as leaders.

If they were slave, they never wanted to die as slaves and more importantly, they never wanted their men to be slaves and they never imagined that their future generations in slavery. They did not know how to achieve it but yet they wanted the freedom to get their share of air and their share of prosperity. When we look at the great leaders, they never fixed their eyes on the leadership pedestal but on their people, how to elevate them. They truly want to elevate them. They wanted to take their people to a place where they have been never before. Once they attained it, they never said that they were responsible for the freedom. They understood that sum of the parts is lesser than whole. And that is leadership. When you apply this to business or organization, the managers or leaders should think like this – “I want to create an organization where the people, everyday move to a new place where they have been never before.” If the leaders are able to think in such simplistic way, the answers for all the problems will be answered by the system/organization that the leader has created.

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