Leadership is a trait that is much sought after in our world. It is sometimes mentioned that only 5% of the people act as leaders and the remaining one are just followers. However, if we go deep into these notions and statements, it is felt that every leader require followers and without a follower, there can not be a leader. But the moot point is how one becomes a leader. Is it because the leader has some qualities that the followers do not have and therefore, the person with the desired quality becomes a leader or is it that the leader has the power through which the followers are created by force. In fact, the former quality asks for a referential authority from the anointed leader while the latter one demands physical power from the person christened as a leader. The person with the referential authority can carry the position on the basis of its meritocracy while the leader assumed due to pure physical strength gets dethroned as and when someone more powerful comes into the fray. Thus, the position of leadership changes due to one factor or the other and a true leader should accept the said situation with grace.
The above stated theory does not find practical implications in the world. The modern world has self proclaimed leaders due to their economic and military power. The history of the world exhibits that in the earlier times, when communication and transport systems were not developed, the hegemony of one region was accepted by the other region on the basis of its specialisation. Every region was developed on self sustainable basis and therefore, the extra ordinary skills developed in containing the needs due to paucity of resources with one region were highly appreciated. However, this appreciation of the much civilised persons of ancient times was misused by the western countries and many a countries of the world were used as colonies for the selfish motives. Since, the colonial powers did not want to loose their position of leadership; therefore, the organisation named League of Nations was created in the late 19th century that was later transformed into United Nations after World War II. The super power status was awarded to 5 nations with Veto power at their disposal to use the same for furthering their self interests rather than guiding the world at large for optimum effectiveness and efficiency.
Despite the fact, that the world has changed a lot from the time this arrangement was made, these self proclaimed leaders have refused to accept the changing environment. They have been clinging to their positions with childlike behaviour although new leaders have emerged on the world map and are accepted by the member nations as true leaders. This has created political turmoil in various regions where the interference by the influential countries has wreaked havoc on the social, cultural and economic fabric of the world. The result has been concentration of economic and material well being, increase in inequalities among the nations due to lopsided policies and procedures and hoarding of the natural resources.
The problem has been aggravated due to infighting and violence along with human deprivation.
A true leader has to be morally upright and should believe in selfless service. The leader has to increase the overall well being and therefore, should promote the meritorious contenders so that they can contribute meaningfully to the development and growth of the mankind. Since the leaders cast influence on the impressionable minds of the younger generations, they have to tread very cautiously in their actions and behaviours. The promotion of self interest by the world leaders has created a vicious cycle whereby, their actions and behaviour will be repeated by the future generations to a large extent as it would have percolated down to their psyche as a trait of a leader.
I feel there is no specific trait of a leader than the one that makes it more humane and sensitive to the well being of the others. Any one practicing these traits is bound to be accepted as a leader and will continue to remain so for a long time. A true leader is one whose thoughts can guide and inspire the range of generations for the overall development and growth.
Can you recall some of the true leaders that this world has produced?
Source: Newsletter of Sarvatra Consultants, Mohali (India)