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Sunday, May 07, 2006


At 2’O clock in the afternoon, I forced myself to get out of my dreams and walked my way to the lecture theatre, where this “Leadership Development Program” (LDP Program) was supposed to take place, for my study group. Earlier groups had mixed reactions about this program and by all probabilities, I had prepared myself for one of the most boring sessions of ISB.
At 7’O clock, as I am writing this post, I realize that it is one of the sessions which I can never forget, thanks to Mr.Aroon Joshi (our counselor) and my group mates. After every 360 degree survey (of a group member), Aroon insisted that the group mates should also comment on the strengths and weaknesses of a person. I was under the impression that 3 weeks is not well enough to know a person to successfully judge him or her. But here there are six people who seem to know each other for years.
Some are extroverts… others introverts. Some have great networking skills…..others prefer the silence of their own self…..Some are emotional ….. emotional enough to express their emotions… others can so deceptively convince to the exterior world so well that they don’t possess those “emotional stuff” within them…..Some are assertive…others ever ready to listen…Some so well-organized in life…..while others enjoy “shoes lying on the bed” concept.
And all these traits are distributed amongst only six different people. And here we are, discussing what it takes to make a great leader. Some people need to slightly change their approach to life, some others need to build on their strengths and add extra feathers to their caps. After all, all of us are leaders in making.
But somewhere within the individual, there is a restless desire to remain happy and satisfied in life. Now “the path to be a leader” or “to remain happy in life”…. are these two things mutually exclusive or is it like, when we force our self to change (to develop leadership traits), do we sacrifice some of our natural individuality….
I know “there is always the scope for betterment” theory which everyone so avidly applies. But “betterment” (I always believe that betterment is only the means and not the end) is again a relative term and often we find that ideas of great leaders normally clashes. Hitler was a leader and so was Churchill. And no one can dispute our very own “Father of our nation” as a great leader, yet none can forget the aura of Subash Bose. And still these leaders were so different from one other. That clearly suggests that leadership is a very independent characteristic that is innate to the individual. And there cannot be a B-school definition for a "leader". So what is it, that takes to inculcate the real spirit of leadership within? Is it more effective to work on the strengths which one individual possess and can develop easily, or is it more prudent to pick up those skills which can be picked up without any serious change in innate nature (assuming that human nature is changeable). Or should we walk on the third path…. working on our “drawbacks” and trying to develop them with time and experience, which might put a lot of mental and social stress, in this process.

Normally I don’t think about concepts like “leadership”. I am much more happy living my life in the way I have wanted, without any restraints. What is more important for me? “Being a leader” or “remaining happy”. Well, if both these concepts come together, then nothing like that. But if asked to choose only one, I feel I will go for the second option. After all, life offers only one chance.


Nikhil Kamma said...

Just a thought: I think the "remaining happy" option talks about talking responsibility of oneself and "being a leader" talks about taking responsibility of an entire group of people.So "being a leader" is about doing something more. But yes, one needs to think about oneself first and be happy. The "being a leader" objective cannot be achieved without "remaining happy". Also, one should not force oneself into anything. Effective leaders are those who become leaders naturally.


Very true Nikhil,
Some people force themselves....and some are natural. Only the natural leaders enjoy the whole process of being a leader. For others, it is a compromise of one thing or other.... just my thoughts.