Top management in any company call themselves leaders and so does politicians. In both cases, they are managing people, making decisions on behalf of their people and making or breaking whatever unit they head.
- Does heading a flock of people mean leadership?
- Does getting appointed as Director or Sr. Manager mean leadership?
Well how our political leaders and senior management at Corporates are appointed is not hidden by any of us. Money, educational certificates, favouritism and power plays a great deal in selection criteria. Then are they actually leaders? How many times you (the reader) have asked this question to yourself or are you a blind person with eyesight who doesn’t see one’s surrounding or maybe you are still ignorant of the word LEADERSHIP?
No, you definitely know the simple English meaning of LEADERSHIP i.e.
- The action of leading a group of people or an organisation, or the ability to do this
- The state or position of being a leader
- The leaders of an organisation, country and so on
But who are actual leaders?
Here is my take on leadership:
I believe that leadership is a combination of skill sets that are innate. We cannot create leaders or leaders are not build. A person becomes a leader naturally when people start to follow him/her and his/her ideologies. In that case, anybody cannot become a leader and everybody is not a leader.
Let’s take an example from a small group of people in a family to understand leadership better. If you observe closely, you will see that one person (man/woman) in a family is taking a natural lead by doing strategic planning for the family, advising and helping making decisions or taking decisions, calculating risks and so on. The other one is following and so are the rest of the family members. In such cases, no one has appointed a leader in a family but that one person has emerged as a leader naturally due to his/her inherent leadership abilities.
I believe that followers play a key role in a leadership journey. Every leader will be a follower from where he/she will draw their ideologies, inspirations or vision. It could be anyone, a spiritual guru, parent, grandparent, neighbour and so on. Followers are the reflection of their leader just like children are the reflection of their parents. Looking at followers, one can judge how the leader would be.
Our known great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa were natural leaders. No one appointed them as leaders. Their skills, ideologies and vision inspired people who became their followers and worked towards the vision of their leader. Such followership brings brotherhood and gives birth to another leader who would carry forward the legacy in a much evolved way.
So do we have leaders at organisation level or at political level?
No, we don’t have any leaders at organisation level. They are certainly growth drivers but do they have followers? I doubt. They are only managers who are performing their tasks allocated to them, who are delegating their task to meet their target goal and if the goals are not met, they take tough decisions at times towards their colleagues/subordinates as a punishment. If the goals are met, they will give material reward to their colleagues/subordinates demanding more out of them.
And about our political leaders (Current situation), I really don’t have to write about their leadership skills because it does not exist. Gone are the days when there were political leaders who not only changed the course of country’s economy but also made a place in their people’s heart forever. Fidel Castro is a great example for that kind of leadership who emerged as a great political leader not only in Cuba but worldwide.
Note: After writing this article, I Googled about leadership and this is what I got in Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/04/09/what-is-leadership/#593081f7713e