"Leadership is the wise use of power. Power is the capacity to translate
intention into reality and sustain it."
– Warren Bennis
"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want
done because he wants to do it."
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
"A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He
inspires the power and energy to get it done."
– Ralph Lauren
Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards
achieving a common goal.
Put even more simply, the leader is the inspiration and director of the
action. He or she is the person in the group that possesses the
combination of personality and skills that makes others want to follow
his or her direction.
In business, leadership is welded to performance. Effective leaders are
those who increase their company’s' bottom lines.
Characteristics of a leader
There are several qualities and traits that great leaders have in common.
These are the characteristics that are typical of quality leadership. These
are also the qualities that leaders must possess in order to produce them
in their teams or organization – for example, if a leader wishes to
encourage confidence, self-discipline, dedication or good
communication skills, he or she must first possess these traits
Leading by example if one of the most powerful forms of leadership.
1. Vision: A good leader should have a clear, strong idea of the
direction of the group and the goals that need to be achieved, as
well as a firm grasp of what success should look like and how to
get there. In addition, they must not only have a vision but also be
able to share the vision, communicate it clearly to others so that
they can buy into it and act upon it.
2. Dedication: Good leaders have the single-minded determination
and discipline to work towards his or her vision and to direct the
team towards the goal. They will spend whatever time or energy is
necessary to accomplish the task and complete the project.
3. Integrity: Integrity inspires trust and respect, which in turn
inspires people to follow someone as their leader. A leader who
displays integrity can be trusted because he or she never veers
from inner values, in spite of outside pressure, stresses and
temptations. Integrity not only refers to values but also to behavior.
4. Magnanimity: “To spread the fame and take the blame is a
hallmark of effective leadership “. In other words, a leader who is
magnanimous always gives credit where it is due and also ensures
that credit for successes is spread as widely as possible through the
team or organization. At the same time, this leader will also take
personal responsibility for failures – helping members of the team
to feel good about themselves and thus drawing the team closer
5. Openness and approachability: Leaders, who show themselves to
be open to new ideas, even if they do not conform to the
conventional ways of thinking, are more likely to be effective and
successful. The ability to suspend judgment while listening to
others’ ideas as well as being able to accept new ways of doing
things, as suggested by other members in the team, are all signs of
great leadership. This openness between the leader and followers
helps to build mutual respect, as well as encouraging creativity and
the development of new ideas which continually benefit the group
as a whole.
6. Humility: This does not mean that a good leader has to be self-
effacing; rather it means that a good leader tries to elevate
everyone in the team as they recognize that they are no better or
worse than other members in the group. Mahatma Gandhi is a great
example of a “humble” leader who was nevertheless very powerful
7. Creativity: Good leaders have the ability to think outside the box;
to take a lateral view on things and some up with solutions despite
constraints. They will see the things that others may not see and
thus help to lead their team in new directions. They will also
encourage this creativity in other members of the team and create
an environment which fosters and supports creativity.
8. Fairness: Again, an important part of achieving trust and respect is
consistent fair dealings with all. For example, a good leader should
check all the facts and hear everyone out before passing judgment
– and definitely avoid jumping to conclusions based on incomplete
evidence. Fair treatment of followers will reward the leader with
loyalty and dedication.
9. Assertiveness: Often confused with aggressiveness, which is not a
desirable trait in a good leader – assertiveness refers to the ability
to clearly describe expectations so that there are no
misunderstandings and to display a sort of “diplomatic
determination” in order to achieve the desired results.
10. And lastly: Sense of humour is essential as it not only relieves
tension and defuses hostility within a group but also helps to
strengthen the bond between team members. In fact, humour can
be used to energies followers and can even be used as a form of
power to provide some control over the team environment.
Factors of leadership
Leader must have an honest understanding of he is, what he
knows, and what he can do. To be successful a leader must
convince his followers, not himself or his superiors, that he is
worthy of being followed.
Different people require different styles of leadership. For
example, a new hire requires more supervision than an experienced
employee. A leader must know his people. The fundamental
starting point is having a good understanding of human nature,
such as needs, emotions, and motivation.
A leader leads through two-way communication. Much of it is
nonverbal. For instance, when he "sets an example," that
communicates to his people that he will not ask them to perform
anything that he will not be willing to do. What and how a leader
communicates either builds or harms the relationship between him
and his followers.
All are different. What one does in one situation will not always
work in another. One must use his judgment to decide the best
course of action and the leadership style needed for each situation.
For example, a leader may need to confront an employee for
inappropriate behavior, but if the confrontation is too late or too
early, too harsh or too weak, then the results may prove ineffective.
Various forces will affect these factors. Examples of forces are:
relationship with your seniors, the skill of people, the informal
leaders within the organization, and how the company is
Types of leaders
1. Authoritarian Leader (high task, low relationship)
These types of leaders are highly task oriented and are hard on
their workers. There is little or no allowance for cooperation or
collaboration. They expect people to do what they are told without
question or debate; when something goes wrong they tend to focus
on who is to blame rather than concentrate on exactly what is
wrong and how to prevent it; they are intolerant of what they see as
dissent (it may just be someone's creativity), so it is difficult for
their subordinates to contribute or develop.
2. Team Leader (high task, high relationship)
This type of person leads by positive example and endeavors to
foster a team environment in which all team members can reach
their highest potential, both as team members and as people. They
encourage the team to reach team goals as effectively as possible,
while also working tirelessly to strengthen the bonds among the
3. Country Club Leader (low task, high relationship)
Such leaders use predominantly reward power to maintain
discipline and to encourage the team to accomplish its goals.
Conversely, they are almost incapable of employing the more
punitive coercive and legitimate powers. This inability results from
fear that using such powers could jeopardize relationships with the
other team members.
4. Impoverished Leader (low task, low relationship)
A leader who uses a "delegate and disappear" management style.
They essentially allow their team to do whatever it wishes and
prefer to detach them from the team process by allowing the team
to suffer from a series of power struggles.
Apart from the above said leaders there are few other leaders
A. Charismatic’s can be initially exuberant about a new idea or
proposal but will yield a final decision based on a balanced set of
information. They are mercurial and can leap at an attractive idea
that they can call their own. They will tend to accept – or reject –
an idea on the spot.
B. Thinker’s can exhibit contradictory points of view within a single
meeting and need to cautiously work through all the options before
coming to a decision. They need to be given the time and the
material so that they can work through the details.
C. Skeptics remain highly suspicious of data that don't fit with their
worldview and make decisions based on their gut feelings.
D. Followers make decisions based on how other trusted executives,
or they themselves, have made similar decisions in the past.
Followers need to be given evidence of how other trusted
executives, or they themselves, have made similar decisions in the
E. Controllers tend to focus on the pure facts and analytics of a
decision because of their own fears and uncertainties. They need to
be given the facts and analytics of an issue
Leaders Born Or Created
Opinions of personalities
They are born to be made. Let me clarify it this way – Leadership is a set
of skills that can be learned by practice over time. This is true of literally
any skill. However, you need some in-born talent or “pre-determination”
to master the skill. There is a significant difference between “learning
the skill” and mastering one. I love basketball, but no matter how hard I
practice, I won’t be able to play it like Michael Jordan. I hope you see
where I am coming from.
S. Hazra wrote
Everyone comes into this world by virtue of birth and so do the
Leaders!! Leadership is a skill and like any other skill can be acquired
over a period of time by practicing it. Some people are talented and are
born with good leadership qualities. One has to hone it over a period of
periods and has to remain dynamic. Not all of the leaders are born with
the same, it is through your upbringing and training of your mind,
perseverance, ability & aptitude to learn can only make a good leader.
There are certain traits but as a Leadership has Application dimension,
hence, simply knowing the traits will not make a good leader.
The truly gifted leaders are born with certain supporting traits like
patience, perseverance, creative thoughtfulness and ability to change.
They have the required traits more than the ordinary or average. They
become honed through adversity which everyone encounters and rather
than simply surviving, they are thriving. Most leaders are born without
those qualities and are simply trained to behave as leaders and receive
respect from the leadership appointed status. One can easily spot them
since they are the gatekeepers surrounded by mediocrity who prevent the
talent to rise.
Leaders are born.
Not everyone can be a Leader. I would rather say Leaders are
synonymous to " Great Communicators who have an aggressive
attitude to win" Whether you motivate people, lead a team, or
possess great negotiation skills, you should be a good communicator
A leader should command and vision for their team, or organization,
and most importantly, the people in his team. They give a strategic
direction to the people of his team and set goals with an objective to
achieve with optimum utilization of resources. The best parts about
the leaders are they are able to motivate their team and they take the
team along with them. They just don' t lead a team but also
teach them how to lead and make them responsible.
J. Foster wrote
Both. Look back to human roots, leaders were the strongest. Survival
of the fittest, hunters and gatherers, the strongest was most often the
leader. Now did that mean that person was the best leader? What you
learn, is life experiences. Based on those life experiences, training
mentoring, you can hopefully make better more sound choices. The
born traits are personality traits, and of the personality traits some can
be molded from birth, some stick with the person regardless.
Personality traits of a born leader
There is a Personality Profile that exists that is a Natural Born Leader.
There are 5 specific Personality Traits that define a Natural Born Leader.
A Natural born leader will test extremely high in areas of Social ability,
Self Confidence, Assertiveness, and Boldness.
1. Social ability: Good natured Extroverted, outgoing, friendly,
gregarious, neighborly, congenial. Warmhearted individuals who
enjoy interacting and participating with others. They greet
strangers openly, are quick to form friendships, and enjoy careers
dealing with people rather than things. They are rarely content in
2. Self Confidence : Determines Success Self-assured, certain,
secure, brave, fulfilled, poised, self-reliant. Believe they have the
knowledge and ability to be successful at whatever they attempt.
Cope successfully with challenges and are not easily discouraged.
Handle unexpected situations well, make decisions with assurance,
and are quick to express ideas and opinions.
3. Assertiveness :Aggressive, persuasive, influential, headstrong,
opinionated, possibly argumentative and hostile. Believe that being
assertive and taking the offensive is essential to attaining success.
They make things happen, rather than waiting for them to happen,
and are willing to be forceful in order to get a job done. May be
4. Boldness: Adventurous, daring, carefree, brave, courageous,
audacious, fearless. Uninhibited individuals who are willing to try
new and different experiences. They can function normally even in
unfamiliar environments, and are quick to accept challenges and
willing to take risks to accomplish their objectives. May be pushy
and ignore warning signs.
Skills of ‘Natural’ Born Leaders
Foundational skills Expand self-awareness
Leadership direction skills Map the territory to identify the
need to lead
Chart a course of leadership action
Develop others as leaders
Leadership influence skills Build the base to gain commitment
Influence others to willingly follow
Create a motivating environment
The foundational skills are prerequisites for all others skills. Mastery of
the foundational skills provides necessary firm footing to have more
impact, be more effective and to achieve greater leader’s success. Vince
Lombardi said that “success comes from those who are brilliant at the
basics”. For to become master leaders the basics are self-awareness, a
capacity to build rapport and an ability to clarify expectations.
Leadership direction skills
Leaders provide direction through uncertainty. Leaders must emerge
when problems blindside people and when people cannot resolve the
problems they face. Leaders should set up in response to opportunities
others miss and when people do not know how to take advantage of
possibilities. People need direction when the organizational structure
cannot or does not provide it.
Exceptional leaders “map the territory” to identify the need to lead, they
chart a course of action to meet the need. No single leader can identify
all the needs and chart every course of action, those who lead, especially
on a broad, global scale, and those who direct large groups and
organizations must multiply themselves. they develop other leaders
Leadership influence skill
Expert leaders have to influence people willingly to follow. Willingness
is the cooperative word. they gain commitment rather than rely on
command and compliance. They create a desire in followers rather than
demand that subordinates fulfill requirements. They inspire rather than
require. those who offer a direction at whatever level, become leaders
when others willingly follow.
Indira Nehru Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917 and would be the
only child of Jawaharlal and Kamala Nehru. Being influenced and
inspired by her parents, Indira Gandhi rose to power in India and
eventually became prime minister. She dedicated her life to progress in
her country despite the overwhelming problems and challenges she
Her road to power and politics started when she turned twelve years of
age. During the time of British imperialism, many Indian National
Congress workers from Allahabad did not know when or if the British
would arrest them or search their homes. In order to find out when this
would occur, the Monkey Brigade was formed. Although Indira claimed
to have thought of the idea, some asserted that the Monkey Brigade was
the idea of the Congress. In any event, Indira became the leader of this
children's group whose purpose was to help end British control in India.
Being its leader, she delivered speeches while other children actually
warned the people who were going to be arrested. The Congress figured
that the British would not suspect children of participating in such
involvement. Although some deemed it a joke, Indira took her job very
seriously. One of the most significant actions of the Monkey Brigade
involved Indira. The Congress party's top officials were organizing a
civil disobedience movement. After the meeting, the documents
containing the plans of the movement were placed in the trunk of a car
with Indira in the back seat. Before the car was ready to leave the area, a
police inspector stopped the car in order to search it. However, Indira
pleaded with him not to inspect the car because the delay would cause
her to arrive late at school. Fortunately, the inspector believed her and
the car was not searched.
In 1938, Indira finally joined the Indian National Congress Party,
something she always longed to do. Soon afterwards in 1942, she
married journalist Feroze Gandhi to whom she eventually bore two sons.
Soon after the couple was married, they were sent to prison on charges
of subversion by the British. Her first and only imprisonment lasted
from September 11, 1942 until May 13, 1943 at the Naini Central Jail in
Fortunately, India won its independence from Britain in 1947. In that
same year, Indira's father Jawaharlal Nehru became prime minister and
served until his death in 1964. Since her mother had died in 1936, Indira
acted as hostess and confidante and traveled with Nehru to meet famous
political figures. Later in 1959, Gandhi became the fourth woman
elected president of the Indian National Congress. After her father's
death, the new Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri appointed Indira
Gandhi as minister of information and broadcasting. This position was
the fourth highest ranking position in the Cabinet. Many Indians were
illiterate. Therefore, radio and television played a major part in
informing them. As minister, she most importantly encouraged the
making of inexpensive radios and started a family planning program.
After Shastri's death in 1966, Indira Gandhi served as prime minister
until India held the next election. She won that election, and in 1967,
became one of the first women ever elected to lead a democracy. In
1971, Gandhi was re-elected by campaigning with the slogan "Abolish
Poverty." However in 1975, Gandhi was found guilty of violating
election laws. Later, the conviction was overturned by the Supreme
Court of India. Also, to control population growth, Gandhi implemented
a voluntary sterilization program. As a result, adversaries criticized her
and her administration in general. To secure her power and because of
escalating riots, on June 26, 1975, Indira Gandhi declared a state of
emergency which limited the personal freedom of Indians. Also, she
ordered the arrests of the main opposition leaders. In her opinion, her
dictatorship was for the good of India. But she allowed free elections in
1977, and the Indian people voted her out of office.
She regained her position as prime minister in 1980. Unfortunately on
October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi's Sikh bodyguards assassinated her.
They did so to avenge the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Gandhi had ordered the storming in June because of what her
government considered terrorist activity of extremist Sikhs who had
occupied the Temple.
As prime minister, Gandhi tried to improve the lives of Indians. With
her neighbors, the Soviet Union and China, she improved relations. She
also promoted science and technology. In 1971, India sent its first
satellite into space. Economically, Indira Gandhi led India to become
one of the fastest growing economies in the world toward the end of her
time as prime minister.
Dhoni, the new Midas of Indian cricket
Call it a co-incidence or sheer luck, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has always
been at the right place on the right time.
His inimitable coiffure became a cynosure of world leaders. Every inch
of his tresses made front page news. He stood by his selected few and
brought world to his feet. He gave the small town cricketers a chance to
He led with the ebullience of King Leonidas of Sparta. Call him the man
in love with mean machines. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is by all means the
new cricketing blockbuster.
Everyone knows where cricket in India was headed after the Men in
Blue stumbled upon the Caribbean hurdle. Indian cricket had hit its
lowest point. The coach refused to prolong his stint.
Rahul Dravid tendered his resignation on personal grounds. Tendulkar
was offered the captaincy, but he rejected it. No one was ready to take
on the gauntlet. The man of the moment or call it a guinea pig then was
to be Dhoni, who by default got his hands on the hot seat as he was
elevated to vice-captaincy just before the English and Irish tour.
Apparently, it was Sachin who recommended Dhoni’s name. But none
other than Dhoni deserved this post for the way he has come up the
ranks. His strong rooting to reality and a humble background pushed his
case above the glamorous but out-of-form then Yuvraj Singh.
With no godfather, Dhoni’s throne is purely built on raw talent and his
ability to treat the game like a game and not a religion. You can call this
a stroke of luck that he got the job of a deputy skipper for ODI’s for the
first time and was elevated to leader of the pack in no time at all.
“Leaders aren't born, they are made.
And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's
the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”
- Vincent Lombardi
The age-old question continues to raise its ugly head
Are leaders born to lead, or are they made? Does Leadership DNA
exist? We often point to one person or the other and say, “Now, he’s a
leader,” without giving a lot of thought to how this person became a
leader in the first place. Sometimes it is easy to simply conclude that
some of us have the leadership gene and some of us do not. Those who
do get to lead, while those who do not are forever assigned to the
sidelines while leaders have all the fun, make all the decisions, and
cover themselves in glory. This comes as rather unsettling news for
those who fear may not get the opportunity to lead. What hope ever
aspire to lead people, teams, companies, organizations, even children?
Fear not, there is hope for the rest because here is some very good news
Leadership DNA is a myth. There is no such thing as a natural ability to
lead that exists within some of us while remaining absent in others. A
closer examination of those leaders often hold in high regard, those
refer to as role models, will reveal one common characteristic among all
of them. They all have a burning desire to lead, to be influential,
motivational, and take responsibility for themselves and others. What
makes these leaders effective is not a natural ability; it is their desire to
lead people, combined with a set of learned skills that they apply as
leaders. The only real ingredient in the leadership recipe that they
possessed when they began leading was desire. They learned the rest of
it. The desire to lead was the motivational ingredient that drove them to
lead, the skills they learned along the way are what allowed them to lead
Obviously, there are some people who demonstrate a greater ability for
leading people than others demonstrate. They are Leadership All-Stars.
They are the best leaders among us and have become the best by
practicing and learning from their practice. Nearly all of them would
recall the key experiences in their life from which they learn the practice
of leadership. Nearly all of them would say the starting point for their
leadership journey began at the intersection of a desire to lead and
learning how to lead. Equipped with the desire to lead, the absence of
the leadership gene is irrelevant.
Leaders are developed. Leadership is nothing more than a collection
of skills, that when employed, produce results.
• Leaders create the motivational environment for their followers
that cause them to want to achieve.
• They are able to easily identify the needs of their followers and
direct them on the pathway to success.
• Leaders can skillfully strike the balance between attending to the
needs of their followers while accomplishing the tasks required of
• Leaders can learn leadership skills in a variety of ways (training,
self-study, observing other leaders) but unless these skills are
practiced in realistic and meaningful experiences they are
Development is the key that unlocks the leadership gateway. It is the
continuous increase in skills and abilities that occurs over time. It is the
result of continuously learning through life’s experiences, coupled with
reflective practice-taking a hard look at oneself in the context of those
experiences. It is the practice of reflecting upon one’s experiences,
usually facilitated by experts, which produces leaders who produce
The evidence that supports development as the pathway to leadership is
substantial, and it is nothing new. Some of the premier institutions in
the United States are based on the principle that by reflective practice,
people can be developed into leaders. All three of the nation’s military
academies and all four of the nation’s military services subscribe to the
principle that almost anyone who possesses a desire to lead can become
a fundamentally sound leader. Universities throughout the United States
are busily standing up bachelor’s and master’s degree programs,
awarding degrees in leadership. Numerous companies in the private
sector have been developing their own brand of leader, designed to meet
their needs. Companies like General Electric, Southwest Airlines and
Dell place significant emphasis on developing leaders and they have
reaped the rewards from their efforts. Institutions and organizations like
these believe that leadership can be learned, and more importantly,
leaders can be developed.
Leaders aren't born. Neither are great artists, but both are born with
potential. If being a leader means challenging the status quo, then you
need youthful rebelliousness to stand up and be counted. This is a
character trait you were born with or developed very early in life - it is
not a learned skillet.
To lead, you need the following traits or qualities:
• a spirit of adventure the urge to explore
• break new ground
• challenge the status quo
• stand up for what you believe
• risk rejection
• rebel against authority
• an ability to influence
• logical argument
• The courage to speak out and the willingness to risk group
It doesn't require a drive to dominate people, only a desire to
differentiate yourself, to make your mark.
No one is born a leader, just as no one is born a talented artist. But you
can be born with the underlying traits that make you a potential artist
given the right stimulus and environment.
Similarly, exploratory, rebellious characters could become criminals
rather than leaders depending on circumstances, so it is the potential you
are born with, not full scale leadership. Mozart was not born a musician
after all - just with the creative potential to become one.
EVERYONE can show some leadership - you don't have to be an out
and out rebel. Anyone with suggestions to make to improve things can
show leadership at least on a small, local scale. We all have good ideas
for doing things better. It's just a matter of speaking up and persisting
until you win support for your views. You don't have to be a manager to
be a leader.
It is wrong to say that leaders are born. If leaders are born then what is
the need of education, institution and knowledge.
The LEAD INDIA campaign was all about creating leaders within the
India does not need few leaders but many-many leaders. India needs
leaders in bulk. As world thinkers have rightly pointed out that leaders
can be created, generated and groomed. India needs thousands of them
and India can not wait for them to be born...
Every individual is born similar. The extensive DNA research costing
billions have confirmed the old disbelief of human beings. No body is
born with any pre-conceived ideas. No body is born Rajput, Pundit or
Chamar. No body is born genius. All human beings are born same with
the same blood irrespective of religion, region and caste. All are same.
The distinction was created earlier to maintain the calmness in society
but today that same calmness is keeping the society deprived and poor.
This fallacy has to be understood by our thinkers, educators and
intellectuals. Leaders are made.
Leadership skills can be developed and mastered, because a truly great
leader is made greater through his/ her trials and tribulations. When one
takes the time to learn from their or others past successes, mistakes and
failures then implement needed changes that alone can lead to success in
Failures can be turned into "how to succeed next time". Even if an heir is
given a leadership role, then he/ she must work at becoming the best that
they can be in that position.
Simply what got you into a leadership role may not be enough to keep
you there or get you to the next level. Some people that are in a position
where their achievement or being given the position of leadership
requires the support of others can play the role of a leader.
Leaders that participate in developmental programs can receive feedback
from others & the follow-up with others can make them greatly become
better leaders. If you are working with and through others to achieve
objectives, you are already a leader.
Whether they are fantastic leaders or disastrous leaders is another issue.
With that said, depending on someone’s intelligence, aptitude &
abilities, being a leader with leadership skills can be developed and
Skills which are needed to become a great leader in the business world
are such as effective communication, accountability, delegation,
decision-making and coaching. The embodiment of each of these skills
is what makes an effective leader. All of these skills can be learned.
There are also habits that are counterproductive to leadership that can be
unlearned. For example, some people have a tendency to finish a thought
or sentence with a question. While this can make someone approachable
if it is used in small doses, overuse can undermine a person as an
You cannot 'send' someone on a leadership programme that doesn't want
to be there and expect them to become a leader. It's not like the reluctant
presenter who gets sent along to a course and finds out that it's not so
bad after all. If your prospective leader isn't fully engaged in the process,
sending them along to be 'taught' leadership skills will be a waste of time
However, when someone has to step into a new leadership role, or there
are greater expectations of how they manage people, or they've become
a project leader, and they show a willingness to develop and take on new
skills, then it's really possible to give these people a leadership boost.
Everyone can develop their capacity to lead, from church committees to
local pressure groups to business teams to political parties. When
someone is committed to, and practices using their leadership
capabilities at all levels in their life, then they can and will develop their
own potential as a leader.
Leaders are rarely born because:
They often do not carry any legacy nor are they from great families.
People who have initiated and propagated great changes are seldom
there because of a birthright. They emerged as and remained great
leaders out of their own merit. They began with a decision to take on
leadership and a determination to lead a cause that they believed in.
Traditionally, leadership skills were always thought to be something
people are born with; that leadership is about being genetically lucky.
But as researchers correlated scores on IQ and personality tests, they
found only a modest and moderate relationship that did not differentiate
leaders from non-leaders in any way. Even a behavioral correlation
established the same. So, leaders were proved to be non-distinguishable
from other people in terms of their intelligence and other abilities. Even
as we study history, leaders seldom appear to have a past where they
exhibited some extraordinary physical or mental capabilities, setting
them several notches above other people. On the contrary, many of the
world’s great leaders had been branded below average or just average
individuals at some point in their lives. Each of them emerged as leaders
because they took a decision to lead.
Leaders are hardly ever exceptional. And they need not be. Leadership is
not something with which you are born, it is not inherited, but it is
something you decide to do. Leaders are the ones who are bold enough
to take a decision when they are faced with a defining moment.
Take Henry Ford. He not only revolutionized industrial production, but
also had such influence over the 20th century economy and society that
his combination of mass production, high wages and low prices to
consumers is still called “Fordism”. His parents were poor immigrants
from Western England where they were evicted from their land in
Somerset. They underwent great tribulations as they came over to
America looking for a new start.
As a child, Ford was quiet and inward looking, and spent much of his
time around his mother. She died while he was very young, leading him
into depression. His father despised him for not showing any interest or
skill in farm work and literally wrote Henry off, saying he would never
amount to anything. During most of his younger days, Ford apprenticed
as a low-level machinist at various places, not even earning enough to
lead a decent living. He did not own anything that could make him a
born leader — no birthright, no pedigree and certainly no extraordinary
attributes. Nobody ever recognized that he could do anything
worthwhile. But when he took the decision to lead, he went on to be one
of the greatest leaders the corporate world has ever seen. He brought on
a new age of industrialization and urbanization owing mostly to his
leadership in the automobile industry.
He is the Chief Minister of Gujarat, a state which he has been able to
successfully convert into an investment hotpsot. Born on September 17,
1950, in a small town of Vadnagar in Mehsana district in North Gujarat,
he completed his schooling in Vadnagar and did his masters degree in
Political Science from Gujarat University. A student leader of the
ABVP, Modi joined the BJP in 1987. In 1995 he was made the National
Secretary of the party in-charge of five major states in India. He took
over as the state CM in 2001 after there was internal leadership crisis in
the party. Although tthe Godhra riots of 2002 dented his secular image,
Modi managed to make a successive comeback in 2002 and 2007
Assembly polls. He is regarded as the future Prime Minister of India and
has got a thumbs-up from India Inc for luring investors and ensuring
they stay on in the state. His recent admirer is Tata Group Chairman
Ratan Tata whose much-troubled Nano is now going to roll out of
Great leaders are not born nor made. Great leaders are a product of life
experiences and choice. Every individual possesses the ability to choose
the path to follow and this defines the individual. There is no one perfect
path to follow or correct choice to make as several paths lead to the top
and bottom. The opportunities presented differ from one person to
another based on several factors such as social class, education and prior
Some people are born with leadership genes as they say, but it can’t
sustain them in the long term. A person has to adjust to the situation in
which he has been put and accordingly develop skills and enhance
knowledge. It is imperative for a person to learn how to handle different
issues and agendas in the most satisfying way. That makes a person a
leader in the course of time.
No one learns and comes into this world when he is born. Becoming a
leader in life depends upon the risks and responsibilities taken and
performed. It is all about willingness to take chances. It does not matter
if you take a wrong or a right decision. Right decision provides you with
zeal to move on. But, wrong decision gives you a chance to improve
upon on it and keep yourself and your followers motivated at all times.