A good leader always keeps people engaged

A good leader always keeps people engaged
At the risk of getting hit by a barrage of gender quacks, I would still say that honestly, the soft side of leaders are a winning quality. The soft side of humanity on the outside with a steely resolve and determination on the inside is a plus point for a leader. Compassionate and confident on the outside with a perseverance and single mindedness on the inside is for me the right mix for a leader. We all are leaders at some point in our lives, and we must believe it. You could be participating in a school function where ten pairs of eyes are on you, or you could be at an airport with a delayed flight or be the spokesperson for a company. You could be an entrepreneur with your business, in charge of five tailors or a department with 50 people under you. Or a teacher in a class of more than 50 children! The micro is a blueprint of the macro, like the drop of water has the same properties as the ocean. The moment you take the initiative and lead, others will look up at you. That is the time to reflect. So why does everyone want to be a leader? Because it seems to have a ‘glamorous’ success quotient and a public perception attached to it. But in reality, it needs hard work and sterling qualities to be a leader.

Think of school, where children are asked, “who wants to be the class monitor today?” And 50 hands shoot up, like stars! They all want to be in control. Some may be untidy monitors, while some are so rowdy themselves that they create mayhem. Some are strict who are not listened to, while some are so overwhelmed that they falter. Some are just incapable and the same could happen in an office. Some department heads get there due to seniority and there is nothing to do with merit. Or politicians. Or corporate heads. Some leaders are so short sighted that they only want to be in the ‘power seat’ to be ‘seen’. They walk with a self-important air, a squeaky attitude that wills you to look at them. But there is little action that speaks for itself. Or you have the reckless strutting head who has an air about him and cuts across conversations always having their say. They never encourage a conversation, but merely a monologue. When an action rather than word speaks of the person’s confidence, it is impactful and real.

For example, you could have a director of a play who shouts and directs with a raised voice. Or you could see him act out the scene himself with what he wants done, thus, showing the way. Engaging and involving people are the key to leadership. We live in this world and its people who we live with, who we work with, who teach us compassion, who teach us patience, who teach us forgiveness, and who teach us love. People also teach us how to control rage and convert it into tolerance and patience. I never realised the value of that irritating person who always bugged me by never listening. Actually the universe put him there to teach me patience, not vice versa. It took me a long time to realise this and when I did, he had vanished from site.

I think as a leader you have to be honest with yourself and see how a 100 people take one step forward rather than one person takes 100 steps forward.

(The writer is a theatre director and novelist)

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