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Becoming A Leader

Redefining Benchmarks
February 12, 2018
The Man Of His Own Complexities
February 12, 2018

Mandela was a leader.

The young boy who captains his cricket side on the streets is also a leader and so is the girl who is given the responsibility to lead a class project. However, these roles are limited by scope and tend to end once the ‘project’ is completed.

What actions then define a ‘leader’ who is not bound by time or geography for that matter?

It is the selflessness and the ability to rise above oneself that is a basic characteristic of a leader.  The interest of the group at large must always be kept before the individual he is. It is only when the ‘people’ feel that he does not have any vested interests and it is them who are of importance, do they start trusting the leader.

Secondly, leadership calls for sacrifice. It is sacrifice as seen by the people; whereas, the individual who lives life not for himself now, sees it as an obligation, a duty rather than a sacrifice.  His life is no longer his but instead of the group he leads.

Belief is the underlying foundation of the two characteristics mentioned above. It is belief in yourself and in the ideology you follow (religious, social or political). Never doubt yourself; as Muhammad Ali, a sportsperson who inspires me, says, “When a man says ‘I cannot’, he has made a suggestion to himself. He has weakened his power of accomplishing that which otherwise would have been accomplished.”

With experiences, situations and will, you start living your ‘belief’ and it therefore, becomes a way of life - the only way of life that can’t be compromised. As the level of belief translates into passion, your vision ultimately becomes aligned such that it becomes a means to share that belief with others.

A leader is visionary in his ideas. He creates a dream that reflects his beliefs and shares it as the ‘truth’ with his people who ultimately see the dream as their own and work towards achieving it.

A strong belief means you remain focused on your goal and not let any factor distract you from achieving greatness. Therefore, it is essential that you IDENTIFY what you believe in. Be clear on the rules of life, goals you wish to achieve and its subsequent milestones and most importantly, the ideology (the thought pattern, in simpler words) you’ll follow.

To have the desired impact (that is tangible and significant enough), a leader must have a sizeable number of followers and more importantly, ‘believers’. For that, he must be respected as a ‘leader’ by the people. As I have always felt, respect is a by-product of human connections. It is therefore, a leader’s ability to ‘connect’ with the people, to empathize with them and to make them feel that he ‘understands’ them, that earns him respect of a leader.

While developing ‘connections’, it is important that a professional distance be maintained else, you lose value. Trust once broken or respect once lost can’t be regained. Be careful of your actions as they reflect what you think.

A leader is not only a dreamer and a good communicator but a ‘doer’.

As a certified PMP, I know that a project holds no value unless the conceptualized and planned project is executed and controlled before being closed. A well-planned project on paper will certainly not impact the people.

To be a leader, one must conceptualize EFFECTIVE policies and projects that have actual beneficiaries who look up to and pretty much rely on the leadership. You must not disappoint them for they see hope and brilliance in you. 

 A leader sees success in empowering his people. He gives them courage and self-belief though his words and opportunities to rise through his actions. He enables them as he is not insecure. Instead, it’s a sign of strength as it is HIS people who are powerful. In them, he sees a fragment of himself.