My definition of “Leadership”

My definition of “Leadership”
 Learning leadership is a life long journey. As a child, your parents are your role models. Then your teachers gradually occupy that space and finally it’s your bosses at the workplace, when you start working in an organisation.

I have always wondered as to what are the three attributes of being a great leader. While there are many theories and many thought leaders on this subject, I have tried to distill my own experience and learning in life so far. Based on my observations, experiences and learning, I would say the following competencies are the most critical to be a successful leader in life:

A. Personal Credibility : It is an ability to say what you do and do what you say. Although, it looks quite simple, it is the most difficult thing to do. I believe people follow what you do rather than what you say. A great leader leads by example and not by words. We admire our parents because they say what they do. Our teachers have always been living examples of practising before preaching. If we move to the work place, lets recollect which are the types of leaders whom we admire. I have always admired leaders, who role modelled behaviour.

B. Trust : I would define trust as believing in someone blindly. Why would we believe in someone blindly. Let’s recall our childhood. We trusted our parents as if they could do no wrong. This is because they always kept our welfare ahead of all their needs and comforts. We would blindly follow our parents without asking any questions. Similarly, lets recall a friend or a teacher, whom we went to for any advice in life. We believed them without any basis. Similarly, lets recall a manager, whom we admired. It the manager whom we would follow without asking any questions or clarifications because their intent was always in our best interest. It’s trust, which is the common denominator amongst all of them.  

C. Values : The best of leaders always have a strong foundation of values. They will never compromise on their value system. They may give up on a project or fail in an assignment but they will never give up their values for anything in life. Many times people have asked me as to why it is important to live your values as long as you achieve your goals. Is is possible to win a match without practise ? Values in my view are like the blood in the body. It ensures all organs function smoothly and there is no clogging anywhere. If you live your values, you will always have a good night sleep. You will be fearless and can face any challenge in life. The means to end is as important as the end in itself said Mahatma Gandhi.

Another interesting dimension of these three attributes are that they are inter dependant. High personal credibility leads to trust and you trust someone based on the values practised by them. Similarly, a solid foundation of values leads to trust and you trust someone, whose personal credibility is high.

So, my definition of Leadership is Personal Credibility, Trust and Values. 

What is yours ?

S Ramesh Shankar

#leadership; #followership; #bloggingfundamentals

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