I consider the word ‘leadership’ akin to spiritual chant. Every talk of an Intellectual, Academician and thinker would invariably insist on developing leaders. Leadership is an institution where vision is created, objectives are defined, goals are set, people are lead, mentored, resources are optimized, integrity is maintained, values are enhanced, and collective results are achieved. The purpose may be a commercial project, a voluntary cause, a social change, an intellectual voice or a political movement. Personal touch, attitudinal balancing, and risk mitigation carry the leadership mission towards the envisioned objectives. The most valuable result of any leadership should be creating more leaders.
The need for nurturing leadership: There is an overall need (a) to optimize resources, (b) bring in time discipline, (c) preserve culture, (d) protect environment, (e) develop talent and (f) handhold disadvantaged. We are still governed by age-old laws, rules and even constitutions against drastic change in the need, outlook, versatility and dynamism of people. (i) We have a very matured technology, which could be applied for accelerated development. (ii) We have the challenge of ageing intellectuals. (iii) There is a need for growing tolerance towards cultural, religious and regional integrity. (iv) There is an urgency to fight with the divisive forces in every walk of life, a challenge felt in every society globally. (v) We need leaders who can bring and lead change in several spheres. Leadership is indispensable to address these impending requirements. If we don’t develop right leadership, our progeny would end up vying for limited resources, get embroiled in integrity issues; and go directionless resulting in chaos.
Where to begin: As we have abundant natural resources, we discover ways of using them for productivity, invent value creation and gain material wealth. With similar spirit let us look at the younger generation. We need to enlighten them about the value of their intellect. Explain them the future and the need of hour for safe future. Equip them with challenges and mentor them to prove themselves. Hand them the steering while we assist them in risk mitigation. Nurturing should begin with academe.
Role of academe: Leadership should be a separate subject in academics. The subject could be appropriately introduced right from the school level. This approach is highly imperative especially in developing countries. The prevailing ‘academic projects’ are purely subject oriented. They don’t give preference to the team spirit, individual excellence, not supported by required infrastructure, and lack genuine evaluation.
We need to improve the analytical perspective in younger generation. Teach them the analytics. Support their dreams. Make them understand the nature and potential of vision. Inform them how they could achieve their dreams through leadership while getting individual recognition, name and fame. Tell them that selflessness is genuine till it touche the threshold of exploitation. In essence, we nurture leadership in academe to save our progeny.
Role of parents: Home is the source inspiration for future leaders. It is the responsibility of parents to rightly identify the talent, ability and direction of children and connect with pedagogy and academy towards developing children as true leaders. Certain traits like honesty, ethics, culture, and moral values being personal and sensitive to individuals should be inculcated at home under the critical observation and correction of parents.
To make the job of parents easy and comprehensible, we should address exclusive mentoring sessions to parents about their role, responsibilities, path and actions in nurturing leadership sprout in children.
Role of youth – the leaders in the making: Dream a bright and big future. Understand the need to align yourself and your growth with the society, as it would enhance your stature, admire your contribution, emulate your actions paving brighter path to your progeny in turn. Be amiable, hardworking and sincere in your actions. Remember collective action brings in faster results. Inculcate fraternal spirit.
Leadership challenges: Nothing is easier in the world than preaching. Managing team is the complex ever task we can imagine. There could be many divergent aspects as to why a team member may not deliver his worth and stand as a challenge to the leader. Some of the reasons could be, (i) insufficient job knowledge, (ii) disinterest, (iii) ego, (iv) attitude, (v) selfish nature, (vi) insufficient or improper communication, (vii) team conflicts, (viii) leadership style, (ix) working environment, (x) dependency factor, (xi) time constraints, (xii) stress, (xiii) personal problems, (xiv) perceptive understanding, (xv) lack of faith in the leadership / results, and more….
Requirements to succeed: A leader should maintain absolute discretion to a point of Yes or No. Timing of Yes or No make a lot of difference to the whole cause itself. He should be firm, assertive in managing deliverables. He should maintain emotional balance with a soft tone reaching his message in clear terms. He should accord highest priority to the welfare and growth of his team members and empower them to achieve required goals. Any act of enforcement or grudge holding should never be in the dictionary of a leader.
We need active involvement of learned people to make our younger generation strong and receptive to future challenges.