Leadership is no easy task. It is not for cowards. And that excludes a lot of people. In this speech, let me try to spell out the vital elements of leadership that impacts.
Leadership that impacts is about having a vision. It is about seeing far ahead; it is about anticipating the changes that can come in one’s field of work; and it is about getting others equipped and ready to meet the future.
Leadership that impacts is about communication. It is about communicating with simplicity, clarity, purpose, and impact. A good measure of success in leadership is determined by the way you are able to handle public speaking. Charisma, conviction, competence and credibility go a long way in persuading people to follow your vision.
Leadership that impacts is about decisive decision-making. A leader is fully aware that all decisions have consequences. But he or she is prepared to gather relevant information, getting inputs from all around—360 degree–, weigh the possible ramifications of the decision, and go ahead with firmness, resolve, and unwavering determination with his or her decision.
Leadership that impacts is about earning respect, commitment, and loyalty from the team, group, or followers. This does not happen by chance. It is the character of a leader that inspires all these. Great leaders who are trustworthy have people around them who will go to any length to do something for their leader.
Leadership that impacts is about managing power and visibility. Both power and visibility can easily corrupt a leader. Often a leader is heading for trouble as he surrounds himself with personal favourites who advice him on all matters. The more he relies on these people (who might have their own personal agendas), the more he alienates himself from the rank and file. This can prove dangerous as he soon loses touch with ground realities. The possible solution is to find creative ways to stay in touch with the grassroots.
Leadership that impacts is about listening. A leader is one who can listen sympathetically and empathetically to people around him. He is one who can listen to what is not being said as well.
Leadership that impacts is about calmness. A leader is not characterised by turbulence; but by the quiet stillness found in the eye of a tornado. He should be able to inspire hope in followers by his fortitude during challenging times.
Leadership that impacts is about knowing one’s strengths. Sure, there are blind spots for everyone; even for a leader. But the one who leads should keep polishing his best strengths and major on it. Without this confidence in his own strength, he cannot effectively lead, influence or inspire others.
It is not too uncommon to find leaders exult in their new found authority and power; who exercise those in brutal and undemocratic ways. But man is mortal. And someday, each word and action will be accounted for. It is best if leaders can lead with a spirit of humility.
Let me conclude by repeating the fact that leadership is no easy task. It is indeed a challenging task to leave behind a leadership imprint and impact that is positive and inspiring; a legacy that will endure for many generations to come.