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Essentials of Successful Leadership: How to stay politically correct while managing up and across?

Mridul 

With the fast changing and growing world today humans have achieved a lot in every filed, many histories had been created by many great leaders in the past. It was their act that has shaped and given direction to the world where we live presently. The word leader obviously suggests is one who shows others the way and guides them to achieve their common objective. Gone are the days when only the people at the top level were considered as leaders. Today various types of leadership styles has been involved and identified. Many studies had been conducted which talk about various qualities of a leader. The world has become so complex that leaders all around the world face lot of problem and challenges. Therefore, through this paper I will try to analyse five main characteristics which is essential for any leader and how they can stay politically correct. My sources for this paper would include classroom discussion which was thought by Prof. Shilpi, my own experiences, case study to support my arguments and some ancient Indian text.

Kautalya widely known as Chanakya was an ancient Indian teacher, philosopher and advisor who wrote Arthashastra and it was he under whose guidance Chadragupta Maurya who was the founder of Mauryan Empire was able to establish the largest empire in Indian history. In his work Chanakya refers to leader as “Vijigishu” a Sanskrit word which means one who wants to be victorious and conquer in spite of the challenges. Chanakya describes his leadership model in book 6, Chapter 1, Verse 1 of the Arthashastra. According to him for any kingdom there must consider a King(swami) as a leader, guided by a minister(amatya).[1] His model gives is a big picture of leadership. The first essential for any good leader is his vision. A good leader must look at the forest whereas people usually look at the trees. The birth of any leader took place from his vision and how broad he/she thinks. For example- Vice Chancellor of our university Prof. C. Raj Kumar who is a successful person makes him or qualify him as a leader not because of the achievements he had made in past but because of his vision and to look forward. If we observe any leader it was their vision to think big which even Chanakya says as an essential component for any leader. Its is important that the leader is clear about his goals, objectives and responsibilities only then he/she can lead a change.

But now the question arises that just by thinking big can anyone become leader, well the answer is no, it’s just a starting point. There are many other attributes to it. Secondly can all person who is at the high level management is leader? My answer to it would be no. It’s not necessary that the person who is at the high level of management is a leader. For example- In the Mumbai terror attack, 2008 an assistant police sub inspector Tukaram died while catching the terrorist Ajmal Kasab alive has proved his leadership irrespective of his designation. Indian army who guards our boundaries so that we can sleep without any problem are also leaders. There might be possibility that the person who is CEO of a company is just because of the heredity or by hard-work. Therefore, surely we can say that not all people at high level of management is not leader. According to Dr. Abdul Kalam who was former President of India, said that “leader is one who gives the credit for success to those who worked for it, but absorb the responsibility for their failure.” In all these examples there is one common characteristic which one can notice and i.e selfless. If we look back and take example of any great leader we can notice that all leaders are filled with good values which includes many characteristics such as respect for everyone, truthfulness in speech, doesn’t break promise, easily approachable, grateful etc. This takes me to the seminar which was taken by Dr. Sanjeev P Sahni who during his speech gives us an illustration of Taj hotel where the employees didn’t left the hotel during the terrorist attack and instead help the people. Everyone was shocked after looking at the courage and service of the staff and after research it was revealed that it was not the money nor the training which keeps all the staff within the hotel, it was the values that worked at that time. Dr. Sahni told us that it was the values which played an important role in their hotel which shows how essential values are for any leader.

By now this is clear that vision is necessary and kind of personality each person has plays an important role. However, just being a visionary and having good values doesn’t completes the definition of a leader. Think of situation where a person has a vision but doest have energy to pursue his goals, or may be he/ she has energy but has no direction or skills. What if a person has both energy and skills to pursue their vision and they have achieved what they wanted to but due to their own personal characteristics at time of hardships they loose hope or stop doing what they really want to do. It takes just a second and all their hard-work will go into water. Therefore, it’s very important as a leader that a person should be self aware which bring me back to my classroom discussion where Prof. Shilpi emphasised on the importance of self awareness. According to me I think self awareness plays an important role in any leadership role whether you are working as a CEO in any company, whether you are politician or working in any other filed. If a person is self aware about his action that what he/ she is doing and why and understand the aftereffects then they will secure success in any filed they will enter. Many studies had been conducted where the researchers came to the findings that having clear goals, proper distribution of power helps to excel any business. For example in one study researcher recruited 478 participants from three classes in the business school of a Swiss state university to participate in the experiment which studies how human behaviour changes which increase in power. It was suggested that Leaders in business and political settings and those who try to keep them in check must constantly ponder how much power and discretion top level leaders should have.[2] This indicate that being aware about your business activity or whatever you are doing which forms as a part of a bigger umbrella i.e self awareness is very important. In other words if you understand yourself then you can understand the human behaviour which in turn would help you with better decision making. Even according to the interview with Prof. Karan Latyan which was the part of our assessment, he pointed that it was due to him being self aware that he is doing good in his field. Therefore, before any other attribute I see self awareness as the most important essential for any leader. There are many techniques which can be used to take right decision which was also discussed during class. For example- Vroom Yetton Jago Decision Model. All this can help you to take a better decision as leader.

There is an old saying “health is wealth”. Now, think of a situation where you are self aware, have vision and all other attributes are present within you but you don’t have any energy to pursue your goals. Therefore, the most important aspect for a leader is their physical and mental health. If a person is not mentally stable and don’t have good physical health than their ability to take right decision and do work will be effected negatively. We can see that before any employee is recruited in any big MNC their health is first checked and then they are selected. It is important for any leader to take care of the business environment. Company with bad environment can never do good in long run. There are studies which suggest that Health worker’s productivity and performance can decrease due to poorly planned workplace environment as this adversely affects their morale and may give rise to poor motivation and no job satisfaction as a result, it becomes a challenge for the management to provide a safe work environment for the workers to ensure health, efficiency, productivity and good performance.[3] Therefore physical and mental health are the most important essentials for any leader or company.

As of now I have discussed that four essentials components for any leader I.e vision, goods values, self awareness, good mental and physical health. Last but not the least attribute is, leaders attitude a particular situation which makes all difference. A person with a learning attitude and with control over his emotion will always get process in life. For example- if a person has achieved something great in their field which they haven’t expected. There is a high possibility that people who don’t have control on their emotions they will go away with their emotions. They might fill with vanity which in turn leads in destruction and low willingness to learn new things which is not good for any person. Therefore, being constant with your emotions is really important which forms as a part of emotional intelligence which we learn during class as well. Being constant during your higher and lower phase of life would ensure positive attitude and lead to a learning attitude. A person who has learning would include other people while Making decision this is turn also produces positive results for any company or institution which was also concluded in a case study of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[4]

There are hundreds of many other attribute like daring, courageous, committed, passion for work, loving, good relations, communication skills etc. which could form as a part of essentials for successful leadership but I think if we understand and make all the essentials characteristics which I have highlighted above than any organisation, institution or company or a person will always stay politically correct because these essentials or characteristics are very significant and very broad in nature that it covers almost everything which we can see and observe in any leader. In conclusion we can say that although others essentials of leadership are important but according to my analyses giving priority to mental and physical health, being self aware, having control over emotions & having learning attitude, good values and a vision would surely help any leader in any filed to stay politically right all times. Each of these characteristics are so interrelated that if any of them is not present then other will be effected therefore all of them are important at same time. I want end this paper by quoting the lines of John C. Maxwell which cover almost everything I want to say i.e. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”.

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Mridul 

1 Comment

  1. AiPorn.Boston

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    There’s no doubt that that you should publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but generally people do
    not speak about such topics. To the next! All the best!!

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