Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Definition of a Leader

Today, more than ever we need strong leaders to motivate the youth and instil timeless values. True leaders are the foundation of a culturally sound and deep rooted society. In today’s times of chaos, confusion, violence and insecurity, the role of the leader becomes even more important!
So, then who is the ideal Leader? It is not an easy question to answer! History has shown us that some of the enigmatic Leaders have not always been good Leaders. Hitler was an enigmatic Leader, and through his skills of oration he was able to motivate his men to persecute the Jews. Leaders who incite their followers to resort to violence are not  ideal Leaders! Often it has been seen that Leaders who have been larger than life have themselves been overwhelmed by their own Grandeur! Take for example David Koresh who formed a religious sect called the Ranch Davidians in the United states. He was another enigmatic Leader who incited his followers to commit suicide! Or for that matter, take for example the founders and leaders of the Klu Klux Clan, this was a group of people who incited violence against others, especially the blacks in the United States!
The Leader of today, the ideal leader should be one with whom the rest of the followers are able to identify with. He is approachable, appears to be an ordinary man, and of course he has the ability to bring out the best in his followers. The ideal leader has time for his followers, he is patient, and always gives  rational and balanced advice. This is a man who is not a demi-god, like Idi Amin of Uganda or Stalin of the Soviet Union. Stalin ruled with an iron hand and did not tolerate dissent. Dissenters were incidentally sent to the Gulags in Siberia. Vladimir Illyich Lenin was however a man of the masses and that is why he didn’t have long to live! Mahatma Gandhi was a Leader of the masses, he was approachable! Here was a man whose simplicity was his strength!
Leadership therefore means followership, and for followership to take place, the Leader should have some form of specialisation, some skill which marks him as above others, but not so much as to become a demi-god! Specialisation could be in the form of Communications skills and a good knowledge of his subject. It goes without saying that he is a man with a vision, the ability to look into the future, the ability to foresee, and thereby make necessary adaptations. In schools Leadership is displayed by Principals and Teachers. It goes without saying that the most loved Principals and Teachers are the best Leaders that a student can have! They are after the parents of the child, the most important motivators and moulders of character! It is these Principals and Teachers who should be motivated and appreciated for the role they play. Unfortunately, Sycophancy is appreciated more than the qualities of Mind and Heart. As long as we appreciate flatterers  sycophants, and yes-men we will continue to have Leaders who are demi-gods, and larger than life, inciting people to be violent!

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