Wednesday, 18 July 2012

“Be a Leader” - Professor M.S.Rao

"Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not "making friends and influencing people", that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations."— Peter F. Drucker

Everyone wants to be a leader but a few excel as leaders.  Why it is so?  Is leadership the privilege of a few individuals? Not exactly! Here goes the story:

Leadership is a skill that can be acquired by various means including training, teaching, reading, observation, practice, and experience. But only a few people become leaders as they care for the people, and put in extra efforts. Especially the people who like to be in their effective zones rather than in their comfort zones excel as leaders. The people who are ready to take the blame in case of failures and spread the fame in case of successes become the leaders. Leadership is again taking responsibility. If you accept responsibility you can excel as a leader.  If you set an example to others you become a leader. If you have the service orientation you can excel as a leader. Therefore, leadership is easier said than done.  Everyone cannot excel but only a few excel who walk their talk; willing to take responsibility; ability to influence people; and being smart in emotional intelligence.

There are a number of definitions on leadership. For instance, Peter Drucker says, "Leadership is not popularity. It is getting results." Ken Blanchard says, “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”  However, I would like to define leadership as the process of setting the goals, influencing the people, building the teams, making the decisions, motivating the people, and aligning them constantly towards achieving the organizational goals and objectives.

There are various leadership styles.  But basically there are three styles namely: democratic style, autocratic style, and delegative style. In democratic style the leaders involve the people in making the decisions and go by the majority decision. Since people participate it is also known as participative leadership style. If anything goes wrong in decision-making the entire team will accept the blame. In contrast, if everything goes well the entire team takes the credit as they are actively involved in participation. This style is good when the leaders are not in a position to take a call, and the team demands participation, and there is availability of adequate time.

In autocratic leadership style, the leaders make the decisions due to paucity of time and when they want to maintain confidentiality. Usually this style prevails in armed forces, and it is also known as dictatorship leadership style. Currently people don’t appreciate this style of leadership.  However, there are still leaders who adopt this style of leadership. In this style, if something goes wrong in decision-making the leaders take the sole responsibility as they did not consult anybody while making decisions.

In delegative leadership style, the leaders pass on their routine leadership roles and responsibilities to their subordinates to save their time, and groom subordinates into leadership positions. If anything goes wrong the leaders take responsibility.  It is also known as free-reign leadership style.   From all these leadership styles there is nothing like good or bad leadership styles, and leaders must act as per the situation, and it is known as situational leadership style.

Remember leadership is not a cakewalk.  It is full of trials and tribulations. When everything goes well your people will take the credit and if something goes wrong you are accountable.  Only when you are prepared to accept responsibility and ready to take both bouquets and brickbats you must endeavor to excel as a leader. Are you ready to excel as a leader now?  If you are ready to take up the responsibilities then you are a leader. 

I wish you good luck in your endeavors!

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” - Nelson Mandela

Born for the Students

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