NO ONE HAS A SINGULAR ROLE OF LEADER AT ANYTIME
No one in the world has a singular role of a Leader at any point of time. A leader is a servant or providing service to someone at the same time. Leaders have to be servants first before being accepted leaders later. It may be noted that leaders evolve by an unorganized process by future followers who take a liking to an idea or a concept floated by them. Larger following gives power / strength to the person who floated the idea / concept. Nominated or appointed persons in industry with a title of Leaders are in reality just captains or just coordinators. These nominated persons can establish their credentials as Leaders by demonstrating their skills abilities to serve sincerely, whole heartedly, transparently, ethically etc.
LEADERS EVOLVE AND DERIVE POWER
This explains the rise of Jimmy Wales who provided sincerely, transparently an idea, a concept and empowered people then volunteered to subscribe to Wikipedia. Similarly I have appreciated Bill Cates concept of Windows software which made computer user friendly through application orientation as against software mastery centric of core main frame by IBM. People felt empowered by Personal computer with Bill Gates’ core software, while IBM wanted people to approach their core software experts with applications needs. Larger the bandwagon, greater will be the leader.
Today the world seems to be facing a leadership crisis. Basically it is a crisis of confidence. What everyone is looking forward are new ideas / concepts as a result of rapid digital revolution. Industrial revolution gave opportunities to many new industries in different fields and world economic growth benefited many. It appears that the digital revolution and more so the software skills has shifted the balance to the eastern sphere of the globe. The economic benefits are narrowed to fewer oriented towards luxury rather basic comfort (results of earlier industrial revolution).Life time of new idea / concept seems to have shortened a lot- and so shorter is the life of a Leader. Once the organization finds lack of new ideas emerging, they look to induct someone from outside. But this new Leader has to learn the internal environment and give new direction in the external environment!!!
LEADERS BRING ABOUT HISTORIC CHANGES
Leaders are those whose actions have changed course of nations, societies and new chapters have been written in histories. By this yardstick, we have many scientists – inventors who can be called Leaders.
LEADERSHIP EVOLUTION IN INTERNET AGE
Now in the age of internet, Bluetooth & Mobile phone technology the messages spread fast & so you can have a large following- which may be invisible and ideas / concepts can pick up momentum like wild fire in no time- like the example of Wikipedia cited in the introduction. Last year we saw students from North East India fleeing in fear back home as some messages / rumors were spread through mobiles, MMS spreading panic. So a good idea/ concept can also spread like that.
APPOINTING LEADERS IN ORGANIZATIONS
Basically I would call appointed persons in industries as captains or coordinators. So a Leader can be at any level in the organization laying down clear guidelines a strategy for implementation of a concept or an idea. If a larger section of society or a group of people like the idea / concept it generates enthusiasm and gets whole hearted unequivocal support. It is this servant or service attitude which provides self-confidence which givess Power strength to the Leader. The leader enjoys confidence of a larger group / stake holders who then become followers. So a Leader has followers, but he personally has a role of servant (providing selfless, sincere, whole hearted service) which gives him the power / strength to guide, take decisions in the larger interest of the stake holders. Interestingly all this is mostly unorganized unlike electing political leaders thorough elections which too may be rigged.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN EVOLVED AND NOMINATED LEADERS
It is also interesting to note clear distinction between servants who emerge as Leaders.. Followers are in synch and better vibe with their leaders and there is harmony & peace in the atmosphere. Those titled Leaders in industries who are appointed, nominated from above The nominated persons should be called Captains or coordinators in organization who have to establish synch with juniors after their appointment. So in industry they may enjoy authority but not power / confidence of juniors!!! The Leader as a boss attitude has a lot of ego attached to the role and distances one from the mentees / followers. True Leaders are humble without ego. The bosses may play politics, be less ethical sometimes to get their way through, and intention of their actions are suspect- which the juniors are able to see through. True Leaders do listen to the followers with patience and introspect if there are negative remarks, while bosses react arrogantly and can be nasty to any differing remarks..
Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther Kind, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa to name a few all derived power from their attitude of service to society. They seem emerged as Leaders only after they had acted as servants of their followers first. The large mass of followers had bestowed blind faith in the ideals / concepts floated by their true leaders. This can apply to people in all walks of life-whether they are CEOs, Political leaders or even a supervisor on shop floor.
MONETARY BENEFITS / COMFORTS FOLLOW FOR LEADERS
In industry people first negotiate and demand salaries to make themselves comfortable first with high paid salaries without reference to what they might contribute. This results in expectations by those appointing CEOs and industry leaders. Higher the salaries, higher the expectations, greater is the fear, higher will be the tension in the air. This is not so with true leaders who emerge from being servants first. True Leaders rightfully earn what they deserve which gives lot of confidence to everyone. There is less tension in the air as there are no pre-fixed salaries. True Leaders are not for sale and money cannot buy them.
LEADERSHIP STYLE & ORGANIZATION
Nominate persons as captains or coordinators, give them freedom to use a suitable style of functioning where they take decisions and thrust (autocratic style and it may backfire) on others, or come up with consensus (democratic style and it may be time consuming and may mean no decisions) etc. Ultimately it appears that benevolent autocratic form of leadership is the best. This is where we turn to lessons from Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King or even Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (some aspects only) etc- when some the followers realize the true intention, clarity of thoughts, sincerity, transparency, open & large hearted nature of people- the followers have blind faith and put total trust in their leaders. This is how cult leaders evolve. But Leaders then have the responsibility of leading from front and never failing in the eyes of his/her followers / stakeholders. People see through the game and try to understand the intent behind decisions – and do not get guided by words /rhetoric.
STYLE OF GOVERNMENT / ORGANIZATION
Given that best form of leadership is benevolent autocratic kind and that leader emerges, should we have democratically elected Presidential form of Government for US or ruling party nominated Prime Minister as in India. May be it is better to have a leader (President in US or Prime minister in India) elected by the entire Congress (in US or entire parliament without distinguishing ruling or alliance or opposition parties in India). Chinese form of electing their leader by a secret ballot by an inner party collegium seems to closer to this concept. Then the industry could also follow a similar system of group selecting its leader rather than allowing the management to thrust one from above.
DREAMING TO BE A LEADER??
Above mentioned thoughts must have given a clear idea of who can be a leader. Read the other blog “Invisible Leader” http://www.managementexchange.com/hack/invisible-leader. Initially one has to drop ego, become humble, invoke power for the Almighty / God the invisible power, get inspired / guided. It must also be noted that this life is a drama and God has long charted everyone’s role and path ever since birth and brought one to present state. Now one is looking forward to becoming a leader from this state – with zero money, zero power. The power gives one to do good, positive to the larger society- so think big, think positive, the idea given to you is tor benefit the society (so no need for patenting, protecting), empower everyone- and then destiny shows the way. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are recent examples – school drop outs but achieved great heights by different routes- may be they were not outwardly spiritual to public. One should not discard these ideas as religious or spiritual and there is no role for it industry.
“This Ariyan Eightfold Path, that is to say: Right view, right aim, right speech, right action, right living, right effort, right mindfulness, right contemplation” by Buddha says it all.