The world is full of examples of great leaders. From the time of Lord Jesus Christ to the leaders of today, the list is worth taking the lessons. Mahatma Gandhi led the Indian masses during freedom struggle. George Washington won the battle of independence for the American nation in 1776.
Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of the most powerful leaders and orators of the world. Garibaldi was the most prominent leader of the Italian nation. Further, the USSR witnessed a glorious era during the leadership of VI Lenin who stood for the rights and agonies of the working class.
The Bolshevik revolution in 1917 was initiated by him and it gave birth to the communist ideology throughout the globe, which is still alive in many parts of the world.
More examples could be cited of Sardar Patel, Dada Bhoi Nauroji, Indira Gandhi, Jaiprakash Narain, Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, Xelson Mandela, Alexander The Great, Napoleon, Bonaparte etc. These were leaders with great a sense of belonging to their followers and missions. A leader is respected only if he is committed to his ideals. He is loved for
his commitments and adored for his supreme sacrifices.
According to the psychologists and management connoisseurs, the leadership capabilities could be developed. They remain latent even in the case of ordinary people who do not display such abilities.
Some basic ingredients of leadership must be inherently present in the leader-to-be. A leader has the following chief characteristics: —
(1) He is an expert in a field. This field could be management, engineering, business, commerce, industry, politics, arts etc. He is a specialises set of knowledge and commands respects
from his subordinates and colleagues on account of this knowledge base.
(2) He is polite and empathetic. He understands the needs of his followers and tries to solve their problems.
(3) He is democratic, naive, honest and simple.
(4) He has no qualms about the outcome of the happenings of the future. He leads his team through the present, though he also keeps a watchful eye on the future.
(5) A true leader is selfless. He devotes more time and resources to his followers and downtrodden masses than on himself. He is a role model for his followers.
(6) A good leader is meticulous and result oriented. The basic cause of leadership activity in today’s parlance lies in the action for concrete and worthwhile output for group and for the society at large. The struggle of Mahatma Gandhi is one such example.
(7) A good leader communicates his thoughts most lucidly to his subordinates and team-members. He is an excellent orator.
(8) A leader keeps on amassing knowledge from his environment. He uses this knowledge for upgrading the knowledge levels of his subordinates. Therefore, he leads his team towards a glorious future.
As already stated, a leader has an expertise in one field. Therefore, he has a power because of which, he is respected and followed. There are five types of power : —
(A) Coercive Power —We could force a person to acquire his wealth, assets and could get work done from him.
(B) Financial Power —We could use our financial powers for results from our subordinates.
(C) Expert Power —We could command respect and desired behaviour from our subordinates by virtue of our knowledge or expertise.
(D) Reference Power —We could utilise our affiliations with people in the highest offices, with financial bigwigs or political stalwarts for getting a result-oriented behaviour.
(E) Affirmative Power—This is the power of humbleness. The subordinates respect to leader because of his purity and selflessness.
They adore him for his simplicity and gentle attitude. Getting the work done from the followers is not difficult (as was the case of Satyagraha protests organised by Gandhi throughout the country during freedom struggle). Love, non-violence and peaceful cooperation are the main building blocks of this type of power.
Expert power is the most important type of power in the present context. We could never get work done from our team- members through coercion or money.
On the other hand, we could get the impossible done through our team-members if we were able to gain expertise in one or two areas of our choice. Some combination of power types could be utilised for the best leadership effectiveness in business, society and political situations.
Leadership could be divided into three sub-groups, depending upon the current trends in economy, society and international polity : —
(A) Political Leadership— This leadership category mesmerises the masses for peaceful or violent political upheavals. This leadership is selfish, cunning and materialistic. The followers suffer while the leaders prosper in this type of leadership.
(B) Corporate Leadership —This leadership draws its power from financial and industrial muscles. The rich business classes rule the masses.
They develop the economy but they charge a high price in terms of pollution, rural poverty and tax evasions. The followers prosper to some extent but the corporate leaders prosper to a much larger extent.
(C) Spiritual Leadership —The spiritual leaders are able to give solace to the burning hearts of millions of human beings. A spiritual leader has no materialistic goals but the followers get a spiritual relief.
It is sad to note that now a days, there are no spiritual leaders left (of the starture of Maharishi Dayanand, Swami Vivekanand, Swami Ramakrishna Paramhans etc). Today, most of the spiritual leaders are moneymakers who exploit the common man for their base interests.
(D) Military Leadership —It is a type of coercive power through which, the followers are forced to abide by the laws made by the mighty few.
(E) Professional Leadership— This is based on expert power and is closely linked to the professions and vocations of the dynamic world of the modern era. The professional is an expert in his field (eg, an engineer, a doctor, a CA, a MBA, an IAS officer, a lawyer etc).
He ought to use the expertise for the benefit of mankind. However, he exploits his fellow human beings for money and materialistic assets. The followers are benefited but, at a cost to their families. The leader always prospers despite some initial hardships.
(F) Social Leadership —This is selfless leadership style, which emenates from the hearts of the true leaders. Social issues, dowry problem, environmental degradation, political cleansing etc are some of the issues raised by the social leaders. These leaders work for the development of the society and not for their selfish interests.
These leaders do not prosper but the society at large is benefited through their actions. Examples include environmentalist Baba Amte and American civil rights leader Martin Luther King. A good leader must be selfless, honest and hardworking person.
He must inculcate participative management techniques in his modus operandu He must not direct his team but should motivate his team members for a collective group output.
India has produced some of the finest leaders of the world. However, over the past fifty years, we have not seen leaders of international status.
We must develop leadership calibre in our children and youth so that they could become the growth engines of the future. Coercion must be avoided. A strong policy of political, economic, religious and social issues must be adopted by our leaders for the healthy growth of our nation.
Our progress in all the fields is painfully slow and this could be truly attributed to the lack of corporate, political and social leaderships. We must educate our masses so that new and selfless leaders could be developed from our rural and urban areas.
Our political leadership has not made up proud during recent times. Corporate leaders are also busy minting money and giving a complete disregard to the needs of the poor, the society and the nation.
At this juncture, social leaders and spiritual leaders should come to the fore and must develop good leaders for the benefit of the nation as well as that of the society. Management schools, professional teachers and consultants, foreign universities and our own ancient educational practices could be utilised for the development of true and selfless leaders.
Only good leaders could build healthy, economies, societies or nations. We must realise this fact for time development and perfection of our human resources. We must have good leaders for the sake of a better future of the mankind.