Leadership by actions
Leadership. It’s not about taking to a lectern and giving glorious speeches, nor is it about heading a team to achieve set targets; it’s not about calling the shots, nor is it about ensuring utmost respect from the family and passing writs, even if they be for the good of others. Spearheading a team, wielding influence over others are certainly some practical applications of a leadership attitude but true leadership ought to be made of sterner stuff, otherwise we would be taking the name of Hitler and Gandhi in the same breath, wouldn’t we?
What our SHEROES must realize is that power is an almost too simple, rather, an unacceptably simplistic way to perceive and understand leadership. Real strength is not in bending the will of another; the strength of a leader is in making another want to work with you toward a common goal and then stepping up to achieve that. This strength comes from having greater drive, greater motivation, greater willingness to persevere, greater dreams than the ones following you. It comes from what’s within rather than looking at how juicy and how red the carrot dangling in front of you is.
SHEROES of the day have been through the fight against a culture of discrimination, abuse of power, violence, and have emerged into a world that still largely denies the existence of the glass ceiling. The onus to lead our future generations into the light of an equitable society that values women and men equally, which respects the “roles” men and women wish to choose for themselves equally, is on you. You can fulfill this obligation by a meaningful and successful stewardship of your own life, whether it entails running a Fortune 500 company or simply taking care of your family.
So, how will you assume leadership in your life? Here are a few tips:
Identify the set of values which you wish to champion… by living them through: Think about what does it mean to be you, what makes you special, what lessons have you learnt in life and what values do you think you should abide by if you could deal better with situations in future. When this is clear, abide by them. If you wish to check if you are making the right choices, the answer to all the three following questions should be a clear, emphatic, no: Am I hurting anyone? Am I feeling guilty, ashamed, or let down because of something I am doing? Am I unhappy?
In a meaningful life, there is no place for regrets, only lessons: Just as you cannot drive a car by constantly looking into the rearview mirror, you cannot steward a meaningful life by living in the past, even if that means just yesterday. Whatever has already occurred has no currency whatsoever except in terms of experience: if pleasant, commit them to memory and be grateful for it, if otherwise, learn from it objectively by letting go of the unpleasantness.
Responsibility begins with the person you are when you are completely alone: In our society, we are never too young to have people around us tell us to “be responsible”, be it as a student, as a child, as a teenager… etc. If you study hard and get a good rank, you are responsible, if you stay away from rebellious behavior as a teen, you are responsible, if you make a decent living and take good care of your family, you are responsible - except that responsibility is a far bigger concept. Respons-ibility is a person’s ability to respond suitably to a situation. Its measure is not through outward, material objects but through inward richness and stability of self. It means to accept in that moment the feelings you have, especially the unpleasant ones – be it fear or jealousy or plain and simple malice - accept it first without trying to justify them even to yourself.
Let others have the same leeway you give yourself: If you take some time to ponder your own thoughts and feelings, you will be surprised, shocked, and disgusted at times. We make innumerable mistakes, misjudgments, even cheat, lie, and misrepresent facts on a regular basis and yet the next morning, we take it in our stride, rarely making the same allowance for others. Even if we do so outwardly, we dial up that file of emotional backlog as often as possible. Well, a good leader can influence and work with several people because he sees them as people. People have their own ways of doing things that look like mistakes to another person. A good leader tries to influence attitudes rather than actions. When attitudes are set right, actions get better automatically. Be a leader of your own life, build the right attitude, take the right action and stand by it.