Not sure, which subject is as extensively covered worldwide as “Leadership”. There are floods of articles by acclaimed to amateur people, development programs by management gurus, spate of theories, case studies and jargons on leadership. That shows its enormous importance and emphasis of top order. However, all of these have only created euphoria and excitement; but not leaders. It is a fact that world is hopelessly short of real leaders!
World of leadership could be very lopsided. This is the dilemma and delusion, most companies and communities have been facing. One of main reasons why leadership of many fails to cut ice is their inability to create contemporaries. It is hardly known to them that whole face of leadership radically changes, if its focus shifts to acquire competence to create contemporaries.
What tempts Leaders to create followers
Many think that demand and duty of a leader is to lead. In other words, others should follow. This defeats the very essence of leadership! It may be surprising to many that many qualities, which are essential for a leader, if not practiced properly, would trigger the temptation to create followers and resulting flaws. Here are some out of many:
- Strong personality of leaders (could lead to) –> Tendency to bulldoze their way and force others to follow their commands.
- Powerful communication –> Vice to hear own voice and discouraging others to voice their views.
- Passion to perform and show results –> Ruthless drive and walk over others’ concerns.
- Delivering commitments –> Coercing employees or people to perform and meet targets, without addressing their difficulties or barriers.
- Creating common vision –> Dictum for a common agenda; rather than working for a Change and creating consensus for a set of ideas.
- Drive to achieve goals –> Crushing resistance, friction or dissension in order not to lose the race and face.
- Believing in Self –> Disbelief in others, giving rise to arrogance and autocracy.
- Creating solid organization –> Carving hierarchy of followers, who then become leader’s favorite and blue eyed.
- Ethics and Ethos –> Showing stick for non-compliances without encouraging doing it by choice.
- Fostering company values –> Promoting values of self and in turn, own dogmas and doctrines, drilled in minds of people.
- Popular appeal –> Hooking audience to self through frenzy, fear or favor.
- Moral values –> Desire for going down in history with unique identity.
On left hand side above are the great values and qualities, which good leaders need to imbibe and endure. However, when they taste power and position, then under garb of leadership role, what they actually practice implicitly or explicitly are what is shown on the right side. They would do anything to get success and the best bet people find is to create followers through every mean available – fear, favor, frenzy or ferocity. Most leaders consider such approach justified, if they have to accomplish their objectives! This is how leadership degenerates and loses the luster!
Creating Contemporaries is a Game Changer!
If the focus of every leader changes to “Create Contemporaries”, it can bring a complete paradigm shift. It is an amazing game changer!
If ability, idea and intent of a leader are to create contemporaries, then he/she would automatically be driven to do the following:
- Respect everyone, regardless of competence, character, performance or experience.
- Inspire through ideas and persona.
- Motivate through empowerment and encouragement.
- Drive everyone to learn how to drive and not be driven.
Often, leaders talk about “drive”; but their action has exactly opposite tenor, if they create followers.
- Credit be given, not taken.
- Fairness to reign supreme and “liking or disliking, whims and fancy, biases and prejudices” to relegate.
Leaders take pride in talking about non-discrimination, equal opportunities and fair decisions; but when it comes to doing it, most have gap between what they preach and practice. Simple reason – their actual intention is to lead and not to create leaders!
- Empathy by lending ear and support to employees’ or people’s concern and issues.
- Leading by examples, leaving no gap between what one thinks, speaks and acts.
- True knowledge of Self & Self-awareness, including strengths and weaknesses.
- Courage & Consciousness to own and correct mistakes.
- Acceptance of good & bad, right & wrong in same breath.
- Mentoring as masterstroke to create Contemporaries!
If one action exposes Ugly Side, the opposite expounds Up Side!
It is funny, but a fact that most masters, leaders, preachers, teachers or gurus in every field believe in creating followers and tag them along (or followers hang around them). They have massive illusion of doing a great job; it’s not!
It severely limits the ability of followers to go beyond the boundaries of perception and perspective created by their leaders or masters, to bring radical or revolutionary changes and to discover realities of life.
Most leaders lead on familiar lines, encourage status quo (may be unknowingly) and have fractured belief of being a Change Agent!
The need is to do the opposite, shatter conventional methods and concentrate on competence to create contemporaries. That would be an auto-pilot to unleash the Change.
So, we need to leave a legacy of our own; not live on legacy of others!!