Lead and Be a Leader


K. Asha
Lecture (MBA)
K. Sivananda Devi
Lecturer (Mechanical)
Shirdi Sai College of Engineering
Anekal, Bangalore

    "Influencing people - by providing purpose, direction, and motivation - while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization."
    -- US Army Manual

Peter F Drucker once said "Leaders grow, they are not made" .

"The knowledge is power " is a timeless truth that all leaders understand. Effective resources are indeed a highly valued commodity, as is anything that will ethically give a leader a advantage

Leadership today has become a very multi meaning term. Professionals from various disciplines have defined 'Leadership' in different ways. Paradigm shifts in the cultures of Organizations and the consistent parallel and horizontal development of companies have raised the need to look at leadership in a new angle.

A strong company is the one that has leaders spread all across the company, not just at the top. The business world today needs both good leaders and good managers. However, because of the rapid change occurring in the industry today, a company needs far more leaders, not more managers.

Time after time again, businesses put the wrong person in charge. Unintentionally, they reward a "don't rock the boat" mentality. Conformity and status quo are the first steps leading down the staircase of a business disaster. Good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience.

As correctly quoted by Ray Croc "The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves". Effective leadership arises out of groups, organizations and communities that have built trust, and learned to collaborate and make decisions and solve problems constructively.

True leadership is about taking people to a place they wouldn't go by themselves. Good leaders don't merely supervise; they create a sense of purpose and direction for those they lead.

Organizations can only build great leaders in an environment that nurtures and supports that development. If they don't have such an environment, they need to change their culture to create one. But organizations cannot change their culture without good leadership.

Thus, the 'leader today' requires to stick to certain must do's in order to be effective, successful and sustaining in this ever changing corporate governance.

The Focus of Leadership


Integrity means alignment of words and actions with inner values. It means sticking to these values even when an alternative path may be easier or more advantageous.

A leader with integrity can be trusted and will be admired for sticking to strong values. They also act as a powerful model for people to copy, thus building an entire organization with powerful and effective cultural values.


Dedication means spending whatever time and energy on a task is required to get the job done, rather than giving it whatever time you have available.

The work of most leadership positions is not something to do 'if time'. It means giving your whole self to the task, dedicating yourself to success and to leading others with you.


A magnanimous person gives credit where it is due. It also means being gracious in defeat and allowing others who are defeated to retain their dignity.

Magnanimity in leadership includes crediting the people with success and accepting personal responsibility for failures.


Humility is the opposite of arrogance and narcissism. It means recognizing that you are not inherently superior to others and consequently that they are not inferior to you. It does not mean diminishing yourself, nor does it mean exalting yourself.

Humble leaders do not debase themselves, neither falsely nor due to low self-esteem. They simply recognize all people as equal in value and know that their position does not make them a god.


Openness means being able to listen to ideas that are outside one's current mental models, being able to suspend judgement until after one has heard someone else's ideas.

An open leader listens to their people without trying to shut them down early, which at least demonstrates care and builds trust. Openness also treats other ideas as potentially better than one's own ideas. In the uncertain world of new territory, being able to openly consider alternatives is an important skill.


Creativity means thinking differently, being able to get outside the box and take a new and different viewpoint on things.

For a leader to be able to see a new future towards which they will lead their followers creativity provides the ability to think differently and see things that others have not seen, and thus giving reason for followers to follow.

Delegation - Essential Tool for Leaders!

Leaders are not just responsible for their own tasks, they are also responsible for the team they lead and thus, should work to the best of their abilities in helping their team to realize their full potential.

One of the most important and valuable tools in the hands of leader is the art of delegation. Delegation does not mean passing the failure or excuse for failure to someone else. Rather delegation is the toll through which managers are able to streamline work by getting the job done by those most suited for the job. Through the correct use of the art of delegation, managers can tap the full potential of their subordinates while making sure that their team members contributed to the entire work process and emerge as well trained and capable employees.

Essentials of Delegation :

  • In order to equip others to do the job, you must let them know what you want, when you want it and how you want it. Give them the authority to make related decisions and provide them with the know how to achieve it.
  • Delegating a task to someone does not mean losing control. Your staff should know who they have to report to. Train them so that they are capable of operating on your behalf.
  • Decide which tasks should be delegated and which ones should be done by you.
  • Never delegate in excess. If you truly want to energize your subordinates and make them more responsible, start delegating tasks slowly. Begin with a small task and once your team is able to handle the job and you are convinced of their capabilities, delegate more.
  • Always spend time in monitoring the progress and outcome of the delegated task. This should help you in judging whether the process is a success or a failure.

The personalities featured here are stalwarts in their own right, having made significant contributions to the domain they belong to. It is not a ranking of the leaders. What is important is the traits we learn from them.

Leadership trait


Definition of the leadership trait


Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam

The act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be.


Dr. Manmohan Singh

Adherence to moral and ethical principles;

Soundness of moral character;



Mr.Sachin Tendulkar

The act of dedicating or selfless devotion.

Tireless work and effort that one puts in.


Mr. Warren Buffet

Loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to distain meanness and pettiness and to display a noble generosity.


Mr. Narayana Murthy

The quality or condition of being humble


Mr. Barack Obama

A rare personal quality attributed to leaders who arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm; a natural ability to inspire a large following.


Mr. A.R Rahman

The use of imagination as a skill in order to create something.

Common Mistakes made by Leaders

To attempt to set up your own standard of right and wrong.
* To try to measure the enjoyment of others by your own.
* To expect uniformity of opinions in the world.
* To fail to make allowance for inexperience.
* To endeavor to mold all dispositions alike.
* Not to yield on unimportant trifles.
* To look for perfection in our own actions.
* To worry ourselves and others about what can't be remedied.
* Not to help everybody wherever, however, whenever we can.
* To consider impossible what we cannot ourselves perform.
* To believe only what our finite minds can grasp.
* Not to make allowances for the weaknesses of others.
* To estimate by some outside quality, when it is that within which makes the man.

"Leadership is like the abominable snowman, whose footprints are everywhere, but is nowhere to be seen." - Warren Bennis

Reference Books:

1. One Minute Manager by Spencer Johnson & Kenneth H. Blancer
2. What is a Hero by San Dimas
3. On becoming a leader by Warren G. Bennis
4. Leadership is an Art  by Max De Pree

K. Asha
Lecture (MBA)
K. Sivananda Devi
Lecturer (Mechanical)
Shirdi Sai College of Engineering
Anekal, Bangalore

Source: E-mail September 25, 2010


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