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