Deliberate Leadership

Anna Hazare and hazar such people are natural leaders. They work for various causes for which they dedicate their lives.  With their dedication and commitment they become role models for many, which creates a following. Such leaders find causes beyond their personal need and greed. Many such people work hard and sacrifice personal comfort and pleasures for a larger cause. Several of their attempts fail. As they continue with their efforts, the failures are forgotten and their contributions recognised.

Natural leaders often build new institutions or new creeds. Their sphere of influence may be limited to a community or may spread to the whole nation and in rare cases influence the world.

We find many such people in our midst – some who have already made their mark and others are leaders in the making. Situations create some leaders and contexts help them flourish. Their followers vary and followership is not guaranteed. These leaders often derive their power by the strength of their causes, conviction, commitment, and general goodness. For them leadership comes first and management later, sometimes never. Someone else would advice and manage the teams and movement. These leaders do not rule with the help of prestige and power, but form their soul and deeds.

Leaders of this category choose their mission – a crusade against corruption, exposure of malpractices in election, finding flaws in PDS, education for the poor, child health and nourishment, environmental protection, solar energy to villages, micro finance for women entrepreneurs, SHG  … They may work on several of them, and may choose new areas at will, handing over the earlier responsibilities to their trusted lieutenants.

Most of the professionals are not leaders of this category. They seek employment and build careers. Leadership skills are necessary to grow in a career. In most places we work in teams and leadership skills make us better professionals. Their leadership focuses on the organisation, its people and business.

Technology Leaders.

The nation told “Thank you, Narayana Murthy” when he stepped down from Infosys on 22 August. More than all other contributions, his role in putting India on world IT map is most commendable. In the same time, Steve Jobs quit as CEO of Apple Computers for the second time. He stayed hungry and foolish to build Apple and bring technological revolutions in computers and entertainment industry. Whereas people like NRN and Steve Jobs are great leaders in many other senses, they stand out for triggering technological innovations and changes.

Organisational Leaders.

Captain Gopinath served in the army, became an agriculturist, entered politics, built a helicopter services company, ventured in to budget airlines, contested elections  … He built several organisations and proved new possibilities. Jack Welch, , leading the organisation for 20 years, helped GE recover and flourish. Field Marshall Manekshaw led an army with a glorious history to further valour and achievements. Leadership qualities are most essential to run an organisation like army, where the members are required to make supreme sacrifices.

Thought Leaders.

CK Prahlad was at the top of 50 top business thinkers of the world for a few years till his untimely death. He did not build an organisation, but organisations were built around his ideas. “Adventures of a Bystander” is a collection of autobiographical essays by Peter Drucker. He mentored people like Henry Kissinger and taught management to Aflred Sloans;  but calls himself a bystander rather than a leader or manager. When Jack Welch wanted to revamp GE’s  leadership training at Crottonville, he chose Peter Senge, a great educationist, to reform the school.

Such thought leaders create many leaders who may become more famous than their mentors.

We can classify leaders in to many other categorise. They are all deliberate leaders, who work within a framework to improve the organisations and enrich the lives of people. We all need to develop leadership deliberately, not waiting for inspiration, whatever role we play in an organisation – parent (home too is an organisation), teacher, or an employee. Situations will decide the special skills needed in a setup or situation. However some critical skills do not change.

  1. In an organisation, a leader converts his supporters to followers.
  2. He trusts and cares for the people in his team and the organisation.
  3. His credibility, integrity and honesty are not suspect.
  4. He lives in the current, with a “Flow” mindset.
  5. He is consistent in his thoughts and actions while being flexible to help achieve the organisational goal.
  6. He develops other leaders.
  7. He accepts mistakes from self and others. He supports other members of the team and organisation.

About pgbhat

A retired Naval Officer and an educationist. Has experience with software industry. A guest faculty at different institutes and a corporate trainer with software development companies.
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6 Responses to Deliberate Leadership

  1. Yes, our politicians should learn these great lessons from Anna Hazare. When Anna can connect to people of India why not they?
    As you rightly pointed out, Captain Gopinath was successful as an entrepreneur but not as a politician. Each leader finds a place in his/her own area of work.
    Integrity is a very important aspect in any leadership.
    Thanks for a very fine analysis!


  2. Yes, there is a lot that our political leaders can learn from him. When Anna can connect to people of India why not they?
    As you rightly pointed out, Captain Gopinath is successful as an entrepreneur but not as a political leader. Each leader has his/her own area of expertise/interest.
    Integrity is a very important aspect in any leadership.


  3. vidyuts says:

    Leaders of all types can learn from this demonstration. Managing such a large turnout is no joke. And but for a few stray ones, it has thus far been completely incident free. And for a country that has so far been too self-focused to a large extent, getting so many bright people to rally around a low-key individual has been an outstanding achievements

    There are a few standouts which should find their way into leadership manuals :
    a. A single-minded focus on the end goal
    b. Insistence on methods without exception
    c. Collective decision making but a single voice
    d. Maximum impact despite very little hype
    e. Low cost
    f. Nationwide mobilization
    g. Completely legitimate use of media and facilities
    h. Element of surprise that kept the adversary on toes
    i. Quick decisions with uncanny directness
    j. Consistency
    k. Exceptional use of social networking
    l. Catchy messages that caught the imagination
    m.Keeping constituents engaged, despite immediate hardships
    n. Leading by example rather than by diktat

    It must have required a high degree of planning, snippets of which came out in the media, but has largely been kept out of view.

    What is gratifying is that the more qualified members of the team accepted the simple upright Anna as their leader without question. Detractors and usurpers were handled with grace, and hence there were few enemies. The team called a spade a spade but refrained from calling names.

    Thanks PG for an educative post


    • pgbhat says:

      Thanks for adding valuable points to the post, Vidyut.


    • Srinivas says:

      Thanks PG for your talk on Deliberate Leadership. I feel there is more to be said on this and I’m sure you’ll write more.

      I was pleasantly surprised to see the comment above about IAC campaign and things that stood out. As a long time volunteer at Bangalore, I can relate to almost every observation made. The kind of people that got on to the movement early on happened to be successful individuals in their own right and yet willing to work with a team complementing each other. There was lot more diversity in the campaign than one would imagine and this helped set the tone. There was lot of drama and unwanted distractions along the way, but the integrity and commitment of people negated such issues and kept us focused. The biggest lesson I learned is “people commit to things if they see value” this applies to those that visited Freedom Park (6 Lakhs of them!) and to the volunteers who worked non-stop; cleaning up bathrooms and managing traffic and everything else needed.


  4. Balu says:

    PG, I see Leadership as a activity and not as a mere noun. In my view of leadership, there is no born leader. We are presented with opportunities to exhibit leadership and some choose to do so , while others don’t.


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