Aham grabhnami manasa manamsi
Mama chittamanu chittabhireta |
Mama vasheshu hradayani vah krano mi
Mama yatamanuvartmana eta ||
- Atharva Veda 3/8/6
"I draw your mind with my mind, and mould it to my accord. Follow in my wake by bringing your chitta in harmony with mine. I cast a spell upon your hearts; come along with me by doing as I do."
How to lead effectively? In all walks of life and at every level- educational institutions, games and sports, industry, commerce, politics, social service, religion or the wider canvas of other collective human pursuits the presence of inspiring, competent, wise and dynamic leadership is essential for success. If the leadership is enlightened, there is a wave of progress, development and prosperity; if it is otherwise, degeneration sets in all around. An inspiring leadership is able to magically transform the crumbling structure of any institution, society or nation, and uplift it to pinnacles of glory, whereas under a lackluster leadership even the heights attained in the past crumble into nothingness.
How could that magical leadership be produced which could work wonders and get Herculean tasks accomplished? The answer is simple: through development of the attributes of competence, dynamism, commitment, farsightedness, caring concern, magnetic attraction, accommodation, etc. It should be borne in mind that it is such qualities in an individual and not the individual per se that command respect, adoration and following. From such leaders, who are the mot prized assets of society, people have high expectations of right guidance and resolution of their problems. But if, unfortunately, in the name of leadership arrogance of power is foisted, then the subordinates suffocate and suffer. An arrogant and power-drunk person can never inspire anyone. Even his hangers–on only flatter him; they never really cherish any genuine goodwill and respect for him.
The ideal of perfect leadership is achieved and emerges in a person whose every facet of life radiates inspiration, who is brimming with the energy of great courage, who has the capacity and ready willingness to consecrate himself at the altar of his goal, whose character has such a fragrance that his followers swear by him, who is able to bring about full co-ordination among the members of his team , and who is ready to sacrifice his own personal interests, however big, for the collective interest of those he leads. Such a leader spontaneously evokes feelings of goodwill, respect and faith in the hearts of his followers. His one gesture has the power to galvanize dormant masses. His words cast a magic spell over millions and millions of people. In whichever direction he turns, masses of humanity
In the twilight period of his earthly life, Param Poojya Gurudev’s heart was filled with pain at the paucity of leadership in the country. This anguish was often reflected in his words "The pitiable condition of our institutions, the humiliating sight of our country looking up to others for its every small and big requirement – this situation has arisen solely because there is no effective leadership around. In the absence of such leadership, nothing can be achieved". In course of his address to parijans, he would often say: "The country does not need yogis, sainyasis and mahatmas but self-sacrificing and courageous public servants who can give right direction to the society".
Leadership is provided by exemplary conduct and deeds, not by empty words. The need of today is that people be like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Subhash Chandra Bose who were always ready for every kind of sacrifice for the sake of principles and common weal.
Let all of us, parijans, introspect and evaluate ourselves. Are we willing to alleviate the agony of Gurudev? If your answer is in the affirmative, move forward; there is place for you in the front ranks. Only you will have to dive boldly the ocean of virtues and pick up the right qualities. In whichever direction you wish to lead, you will have to consciously strive to acquire the highest competence and excellence. This could be in any field - services, medicine, management, or any other. But remember that although ability is undoubtedly a prerequisite for effective leadership, it alone is not sufficient. For good leadership boldness and dynamism are also essential, and so is their transference to the co-workers. It is also imperative that he be a good judge of the merits of his colleagues, recognize the unique talent of each one of them, and share this knowledge with others. This will generate mutual confidence, respect and goodwill.
When the time comes for any recognition and honor, the right thing to do is not to step forward in a hurry to own the credit; the credit should be unreservedly given to members of the team as a whole. This will reinforce their confidence and faith in the leader. Along with this, they should also be given encouragement and inspiration through words of praise and by concrete recognition. Such gestures fill the hearts of his coworkers with increased enthusiasm and uplift their spirit. Their work-efficiency is increased manifold. Their inter-relationships become warm and cordial. To maintain this sprit of bonhomie, we should make it a point that in our mutual interactions we highlight each other’s merits and never highlight the weaknesses lest feelings be hardened and relationships strained.
Another quality, which must be developed for augmenting the characteristics of good leadership, is the ability to innovate, i.e. to think new ideas and execute them. Whatever be the field of work there should be constant endeavor to formulate practical work-schemes aimed at accelerating the progress of the organisation. Also, glad and enthusiastic participation of the co-workers in the execution of enterprises should be ensured. If we are able to gradually acquire and develop such leadership attributes within us, we will not only be able to provide successful leadership in our specific work-spheres but also become pacesetters for others.