Leader- it i sa word, a position, a label, a responsibility and much more. let us discuss on some more characteristics of a leader.
* Always a Learner, always an Innovator
A good leader is in a constant growth mode and learning is the bedrock of progressing. He never repeats the same day twice! He strives to seek new experiences and he is in a constant self-introspection mode.
A leader is always open to new ideas and ways to do things. It doesn’t mean that a leader is a copier, but he always notices and learns from the specialities of others, those who are ahead of him and those who are lagging behind.
* Mature in dealing with criticism and praise
A leaderdoesn’t work for praise and so is not affected whether he receives it or not. Praise is not his destination. So even if he receives it, he doesn’t rest there and deals with it with maturity. He takes criticism as a means to improve and praise as responsibility to sustain. More than a sense of appreciation, it is this sense of responsibility that makes him achieve more and sustain what has already been achieved.
* Master Consciousness& Leading by Example
Leadership is synonymous to Master Consciousness, but the way it is perceived is different. A leader is sometimes mistaken as a master who instructs. But a leader is someone who leads by example and transforms the ‘saying’ into ‘doing’.He is a master of his thinking, his words and actions. He can never blame the situation or people for his actions or reactions as doing so is a victim consciousness.He sets the trend right by being a master and not a victim. For this, a leader needs rock- strong determination that cannot be shaken by circumstances, people, failures etc.
* Inner Powers
Certain powers are required by a leader to execute leadership.
o Catching Power
A leader requires thepowers to execute the task or get it executed, but before that he needs the power to identify the right opportunity, the right resource to accomplish the opportunity and the right time to do so. This power of a leader can be understood as a ‘catching power’. Just like in a cricket match, a lost catch can lead to a serious loss of victory, similarly, every situation is like an opportunity to catch for a leader and a lost catch can be irreplaceable.
o Decision- making Power
After the opportunity is taken, a leader has to make a right decision so as to encash the opportunity. In this regard, it is important to exercise the judgment power or decision- making power. Consider, that you are travelling on a highway and instead of taking a right turn, you continue to go further on the highway. After a while, you realize that you have gone further ahead by not taking the right turn. You may ask someone about the right way to your destination, but it is not necessary that the person you are consulting knows the right way. After a few iterations, you might find a person who is well aware about the place you seek to land and tells you the point on highway from where you can take a ‘U’-turn or follow another route. Thank God it was a highway! Even though much of time has been wasted in going wrong without realizing that you have gone wrong, then in realizing that you have gone wrong, then finding the right person who can guide us on the right path, and then going to the point from where we can come on track to reach the right destination and then finally coming and proceeding on the right track. However, in life, there might not be a ‘U’-turn or chance to go back. Therefore, a decision taken by a leader could be a decision for a lifetime.
Usually, we look for immediate or short term benefits while taking a decision or making a judgement and either don’t look for, or understand/ realize the long term benefits. This ‘myopia’ can cause leadership hazards in real life situations. Thus, in order to take this right decision, a leader must have great foresight that understands the difference between short term and long term benefits and makes a judgement by proper evaluation of both.
o Power to Face
Along with the power to take the right decision, a leader requires enormous power to face the result of the decision or sustaining on the right decision too, which requires much more power than to just take a decision at once.
o Controlling Power
It is desired by a leader that the team remains in order or control not only when he is present to look after the order, but also in his absentia- which can only be brought in action when self- control is infused in every individual. And to so, a leader must know what it takes to earn this self- control. Thus, a leader must have enough controlling power. Controlling power doesn’t have much to do with controlling others than it has to do with controlling the self and enabling others to learn and exercise this self- control. Using this power, he can control his thoughts, his perceptions, his feelings, his words, his actions and reactions. Only when he knows how to deal with himself, can he deal with the rest of the world and bring it order.
Moreover, every external authority, which comes naturally to a leader, has to be supplemented with a balance of inner power. If authority or power isn’t executed with inner powers, it might lead to development of ego, resulting in a roadblock for the success of a leader.
# Open minded and Intuitive
While a leader must have a learning attitude and excellent listening skills, through which he is able to listen and understand what the words and minds of his people or team mean; he must also have a great intuition. A leader always believes in creating more leaders and thus gives equal opportunity to everyone in the team to share their views and give opinions. Also, being open minded makes a leader available to all and soon earns trust and respect of his team. However, it is of utmost importance for the leader to develop a strong and sharp intuition, which always guides the leader and helps him choose the right opinion. While he is open to new ideas and ways to doing things, his intuition always guides him and warns against any wrong intensions or decisions.
Integrity for a leader is like water for life. It is not just essential for a leader, but also indicative of true leadership. It has been a common trait to all the great leaders that the world has seen. Integrity can be understood as:
o The state of being whole and undivided- Sometimes we are unable to understand ourselves completely and hence become dependent on the images/ labels/ perceptions of what others hold for us. We start believing in what they believe of us. Due to this, much of our identity remains unexplored. Under such circumstances, we start comparing, hiding, proving our identity- that we are better than others, without even realizing that this is an incomplete as well as adulterated identity. This makes us become dependent on short term achievements and materialism to remain ‘on the top’ while the depths of our identity still remain unexplored. For a leader, it is thus important to know, believe and become his true and whole self so that he is not left at the mercy of illusions of short term success and the opinions of others about him, and can be secure of his identity, which is not as temporary as this body or name/ fame/ position/ materials acquired by this temporary identity; but as permanent as the energy which is the driving force within this body, which is intrinsically pure, powerful and complete, if understood and manifested in its true sense.
o The quality of being uncompromisingly honest and having strong moral principles-We all have a certain code of conduct and value system which we believe is right. But sometimes because we fail to recognize the strength of that value or fail to use it as our power or feel that no one else values those values, we tend to give up and adopt unethical means as shorter ways to reach our destination. But it is also true, as we approach nearer to our destination by following these unethical means, we are either hallucinated by the illusion of success or the real destination seems drifting farther away. Undoubtedly, a leader must always support what is right, whether or not others are supporting it. Here, we must remember that we chose our values because we liked them and wanted to abide by them; not because we wanted others to praise us for that value or follow the same. So, why should we give up those values now if others are not abiding by them or following them. They are ‘my’ values and to sustain them is ‘my’ responsibility.
It is said thatinitially you have to support your values and ethics so that later in life they may emerge strong to support you at the time of crisis or tests of life. For instance, if one has remained honest for his whole lifetime, under any and every circumstance, then during the hard phase of life, his image of being an honest person, which has helped him earn the trust of all, will safeguard him from any undue allegations and gather the support of those who have secured their trust in him. And at that point of life, it feels as if it was truly worth living by that value throughout life.
# Detached involvement
As a leader, one has to be aware of each and every proceeding in the team, has to have the knowledge of whatever is going on in the team. Only then will he be able to understand and develop better means to do the same task and also solve the issues, if any, in the team. But along with this ability comes the necessity of remaining unaffected by the ups and downs. This quality of value of a leader is known as ‘detached involvement’. If the leader starts getting mentally and emotional affected by issues within the team, loses his nerves out of anger or fear, feels the pressure of the problem, then much of his time and energy will be lost bearing the mental and emotional burden and further more time and energy will be needed in coming back to the normal level; while during the time of such crisis, demonstration of extra-ordinary skills was required.
Thus, this value reflects the compassionate, sensible, responsible and humane side of the leader, who is strong enough to support his team by remaining mentally and emotionally detached or unaffected by the effect and pressure of people and situations.
It is certain that not all of us who are leaders or aspire to become one, have all of these and other qualities that make a person a leader. But it is equally certain that we do have some or the other combination of these. If only we have a means to build up on these values or qualities, it would not be difficult for us to acquire the others, as these values or qualities are complementary to each other. More-so, they are our intrinsic virtues, locked deep within the layers of acquired personality, which we have chosen to adopt to suit the external environment and ensure the survival of the fittest, giving rise to never ending competition. Whereas, a big question remains unanswered- whether we are holistically fit enough? And is our purpose merely to survive or to excel?
Spirituality provides us a way to explore answers to many of such questions. It is a natural way to deepen our understanding of ourselves and others, which includes knowing our strengths and short-comings. If while walking on a road, we are aware of the route, it will help us to reach our destination without mistake, in the shortest and easiest way. Also, when we know the route and condition of the road well, we are also aware of the potholes on the road. This knowledge helps us avoid those potholes until they are filled and repaired, and we may reach our destination safely. Similar is the boon that spirituality provides us. It not only helps us sharpen our qualities to achieve excellence in whatever we do, while otherwise we would have been busy in trying to acquire those qualities not knowing that we had ourselves locked them up within, but also makes us aware of our limitations, so that we don’t end up triggering them in situations where they could lead to our serious loss. Meanwhile, practise of Rajyoga Meditation allows us to fill- up or repair our inner defects and convert them into our strengths, sculpting a good and able leader.