With the corporate world evolving at such a frantic pace, there is a heightened emphasis on the people who run the businesses – The Leaders. These Leaders shape the way their organization evolves, and great Leaders shape the way the industries evolve – Walt Disney (Animation), Bill Gates (Software), Steve Jobs (Minimalism in devices), and Mark Zuckerberg (social media), and a list goes on.
There are multiple roles that the leaders play in helping the organization achieve its priorities – Revenue, Growth, Profitability (Measurable), developing the foundations of value, belief systems on which the organization has been built (non-Measurable), and ensuring satisfaction, career aspirations and the overall experience of the people working in the organization is maintained at the highest levels. To ensure the leaders can juggle these multiple responsibilities, there are various training and models which they learn and use to ensure effective delivery of their roles and responsibilities.
India as a country has been one of the pioneers and major contributors to the world in the field of mathematics, surgery, astronomy from ancient times through leaders in the respective field ( Aryabhatta, Sushruta, etc).
One underrated but extremely important work during ancient times is the Arthashashtra by Chanakya – the chief advisor to Chandragupta Maurya during 300 BCE. This piece of literature impacts lessons on leadership on statecraft, economic policy, and leadership strategy.
Who is an ideal leader?
Chanakya defines an ideal leader as – “If the leader is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic. If he is slack (and lazy in performing his duties) his subjects will also be lazy and thereby, eating into his wealth. Besides, a lazy leader will easily fall into the hands of the enemies. Hence the leader should always be energetic” *
(*- Translation from Corporate Chanakya by Radhakrishnan Pillai)
With the world undergoing a massive transformation, especially in the last 2+ years accentuated by the impact of Covid-19, good leaders have started to become an extremely important lever that organizations have found in short supply across the world.
A Good/Ideal leader can only be energetic if he/she is well equipped with the following traits:
➔ Clarity of thoughts – A clear understanding of what is their role, what are the critical priorities and how they should drive their priorities stems from having a strong clarity on their thought process. This helps the team/people in the organization to have clear and well-defined roles and less ambiguity thereby driving better productivity overall
➔ Agility – Leaders should be agile to take on any unprecedented challenges which come their way. A good agile leader builds confidence in his/her capabilities thereby getting the buy-in and trust of the people in the organization to embrace his/ her direction and vision
➔ Defining the Strategic vision and Strong Communication Skills – An ideal leader never rests on his /her laurels. They exhibit a visual and constant childlike excitement in shaping the strategic vision of the organization. They are extremely good communicators and hence can communicate their vision for the organization to the people so that they can see the big picture view. This gives the people a heightened sense of importance and job satisfaction.
This also nurtures a culture of inclusivity amongst the workforce as they will be thinking about their contribution to the organization’s long-term vision.
On the other hand, non-energetic leaders will not have the above traits and will be dependent on others for the decision-making process, or will not own up to the decisions that they have taken bringing a culture of a toxic workplace and financial weakness to the organization. Once this starts from the top, it flows down to the lower levels of the organization thereby eroding the foundations and value systems on which an organization has been built. For this, leaders require optimal motivation and a learning environment to succeed.
From an external lens, organizations with these kinds of leaders will always let themselves be open to attack from the competition, loss of market share, and in extreme cases, hostile takeover bids from others.
Swami Vivekananda had once famously replied to someone who was asking him why he was working hard even he had aged: “If I Rest, I Rust”.
An ideal leader should be physically active, sharp in his mental acuities, intellectually sound, and have a strong value system that mirrors the organization’s value system. There are various training that leaders can take such as Train The Trainer Certification India to train people further and make them self-leaders and leaders for the future.