Leadership Today – From Command & Control to Being Inclusive


Leaders are built, not born…..

Lead from the front…..

Yawn! This is old school.

Let’s look at leadership for what it is in the new age. Gone are the days of command and control. Today, there is an altogether different leadership that is expected.

Leadership, as we have understood it through the ages, stands for someone, being the champion of a cause and then, enlisting the help of others and influencing them in the realization of the same. It has also been seen as the act of leading others, directing them toward specific achievements through a means that is most effective.

However, leadership is not always about being at the forefront of a team and giving directions as to what they need to do next and how.

The entrepreneurial and corporate engines of today run with a different fuel, an altogether different steam. Nobody is directing anyone, people have the intellect and drive to choose and follow the paths they want to adventure onto 

Leadership is effectively sharing a compelling vision

What they need is a purposeful and meaningful vision, an articulation of how to get from point A to point B and finally, if you are someone who has been there and done that, there’s acknowledgement of what you’ve done and people want to listen to you. Mind you, I said listen. Today’s generation would love to listen to glean lessons from someone else’s experience. They do not care for direction. They will chart their path as long as they buy into the vision, the strategy laid to adopt and the results to be realized. They will chart their own path, a path that works for them to get there under the larger realm of the organizational vision and mission.

Leadership is being respectful of other’s intellect, skills and time

Everyone develops expertise over time at different things and then, can lead within that field, thanks to the skills they have accrued. Leaders are respectful of that. It’s often said that good leaders are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and surround themselves with people better than themselves in areas they lack expertise in. It’s important that to effectuate strong leadership, leaders are respectful of those that work for them and with them. These helps nurture a mutually healthy relationship between leaders and followers and only then, do those that follow, do it willingly. Followers have the freedom, not to just follow blindly, but to question and opine before they follow. A leader’s recognition of every associate’s skills, role and contributions are critical to maximize productivity in any organization. 

Leadership is being transparent, showing strength of character and conviction

A leader is respected for who they are more than what they represent. People need to believe in a person before they decide to follow. A leader needs to ensure that more than having a charismatic personality; they are transparent, just in their dealings and have a high level of integrity and moral values. Trust is a key aspect of any relationship and nothing can establish it more than your true self, reflected in your words and actions. Another important aspect of reflecting true leadership is to show conviction in what you believe and stand for. Decisions that you take need to be solid and no matter what, you should be able to stand behind them. You should not take a decision without much forethought and facts to back it up. And when you do, stand behind it, no matter what. These qualities are vital in ensuring true followership that will stand behind you all the way.

Leadership is putting your shareholders, but first, your employees before you

Leaders focus on the big picture. Yet, they need to have a handle on the tactical stuff. Leaders focus on providing shareholder value, and will put their employees, those that are working on the realization of the articulated vision before everything else. Happy employees lead to satisfied clients and they, in turn lead to a thriving business, eventually ensuring shareholder approval. As long as you’ve got your people’s back, they will have yours.

Leadership is not about directing, but about listening and co-sharing direction

Leaders of this age are no longer the ones that can sit in their ivory towers, draw the shades down and call the shots from yonder. In this day and age of Internet, social media and fast paced actions and outcomes, its important for a leader to stay in absolute touch with their organization, the competition and the market. With rapidly shifting dynamics, it’s about effectively listening to what your people have to say to you. What are they seeing out there? What are they experiencing? What do they advise? All of this needs to be appraised constantly and decisions need to be made based on every input you can possibly get. Its shared leadership as to which direction the organization should take. This is the only way to remain relevant is a fast paced ever changing market.

Leadership is personal

Leadership is personal to every leader. Every leader is unique and to be effective, needs to be comfortable with their own style. You can be at your best as a leader when your leadership reflects your values, skills and life experiences. People seek to know you for who you are. They will look to you to be ethical, moral, righteous etc. before they follow you but eventually, your unique self will be a key aspect of why they would follow you.


Mind over Matter…


I woke up this morning and read about the 4 year old little girl in Syria who was hit by a “stray” bullet while playing in her mother’s lap at home and didn’t survive the next day. Felt a pang of pain and frustration for the little one and her family, hope they all find peace. This is one piece of news we may read or hear about; there is so much we may never hear about….

The human mind never fails to amp up my fascination each time I learn a bit more. The way it is structured to hold long term and short term memories, accepts and absorbs shock, has varying capacity for such absorption from person to person is all very fascinating.

Today, there is a constant influx and onslaught of information through various media – on-line, offline, audio, visual, etc. We tend to use the media we prefer and we follow a path to filter & comprehend; a path traversing; along with the rest of the world, the more populous of news and then, our own realm of likes and interests.

And the news we consume tends to have an impact on us, sometimes minimal and at other times, pretty dramatic. The media it’s consumed in also contributes to the level of impact. A tragedy we come across may have a gloomy impact forcing us to retrospect in its background and a triumph brings us together in celebration, solidarity and brightens the future horizon.

There is so much that happens in the world that doesn’t even hit the visibility angle. What we view, hear or experience is only a subset of what transpires daily in our world, our lives. We simply do not have the capacity to process all that happens, whether known or unknown. But, the least we can do is to judge and react to what we come across and know.

It’s one thing to be a spectator and a totally different thing to decide and act on it; it may just impact ourselves or others we know or an entire community. But, it’s important to react to ensure that what has been processed has an impact and for that matter, a positive one. No matter how insignificant it may seem, any action can play a defining role in minimizing the impact of bad news while significantly contribute to the strength of a good piece of news.

In order to sustain the quality of life we desire and the nature of surroundings we aspire, the people, atmosphere and vibes we surround ourselves with become important. Be in the midst of wise men, you will be wise. Be in the midst of inspiration and goodwill, you will be inspired and will be able to do well. It’s crucial that we attract and comprehend information complementary to our aspired demeanor. This is not to say that you should totally shut out the troubled information. But, with an inspired demeanor that we cherish, non motivating news will not have its gloomy impact on us or our surroundings. In fact, some of our inner happiness and drive will rub off on it and its dark impact may diminish. When a whole community, city or society imbibes this culture of feeling and doing well, the impact of such harsh news will significantly diminish; infact, such news itself may be hard to come by. You might think, I am preaching utopia here. Hey, no one said dreaming of one is wrong and when you are out there to wish well, why not wish for the best!

Aspire to Inspire…

Look around you, there are several icons in the present and the past that we look up to. There is awe, astonishment and the feeling of disbelief. There is aspiration and sometimes, this crosses the fine line of wanting to be in the shoes of the person you are most influenced by. In the present times, constant media bombardment has actually helped some personalities rise to such influence. It’s another question whether they deserve it or not. But, more important, this constant barrage has tremendous influence on the minds of both the immature and the mature.

The younger immature lot, especially are more easily influenced. And in most cases, they end up wanting to be who they admire. This can be a positive or a negative thing based on the strength of character of the one influenced. It’s important to recognize that the one you admire is just one and very unique. To draw inspiration from what they did and the success they achieved, to channel your own efforts to succeed is good. If such success is not attained, the frustration that follows and not being able to overcome it to chart your own path is harmful. This is where immaturity is seen.

Draw inspiration from those you admire, draw inspiration from their values, their character and such. Emulate and imbibe these to make a difference in your own life. As a result of this, you develop your own unique charm and your very own personality. Develop and exert this personality to achieve the success you desire. Ensure that your personality has a positive influence on those around you. First and foremost, this has a deep impact on your immediate family. Cultivate this influence for the benefit of your near and dear. Then, grow this influence as far out as you can reach. Remember, you are a sum total of your own experiences, there is no one out there like you. Live your life and aspire to influence others with the best in you!