Truly Great Leadership is All about Walking the Talk in All Aspects of Being Leaders
What Makes Some Leaders Truly Great
There are leaders and then, there are Leaders. To explain, any entity, whether commercial or social or political or administrative has leaders leading them who are expected to have a vision on where they want their domains and the followers to reach and at the same time, have a clear action plan or mission on how to get there.
Thus, we find Politicians, Business Leaders, Sportspersons, Celebrities, and Administrators as well as Activists in all walks of life that make leadership a daily affair.
However, what sets truly great leaders apart from the humdrum everyday leaders is that they Walk the Talk or in other words, lead by example and from the front to inspire and motivate their followers.
Indeed, truly great leaders are those who do not have double standards and who practice what they preach.
While in contemporary times, there are very few leaders who can lay claim to this aspect; history is replete with instances of truly heroic leaderships from all walks of life.
Indeed, apart from great men and women such as Gandhi and JFK, there have been many military leaders of all ranks and levels who succeeded in the Titanic endeavor of defeating Fascism and Nazism during the Second World War.
What made that generation of leaders so great is that they believed in a cause wholeheartedly and dedicated their lives to leadership by example which sadly, the present crop of leaders in the world lacks.
Leaders are also the Product of Their Times
Having said that, it is also the case that leaders are product of their times and hence, their leadership habits and behaviors are shaped as much by the times that they live as they are by the expectations from the electorate or their employees or followers.
In other words, leaders are made and unmade by the specific push and pull of forces that happen to influence them at each period of history.
On the other hand, in recent times, the predecessor of the present president of the United States, Barack Obama, was an inspirational leader who embodied all the principle of leading from the front and leading by example.
Not only was his ascent to the Top Job a fairy tale fable of battling and overcoming odds, but also his subsequent stint in the office marked by truly progressive policies and laws and actions that brought cheer to Millions of underprivileged Americans.
It is a sad state of affairs now in the United States with Donald Trump more interested in profiting personally from the Presidency rather than doing any meaningful work.
Indeed, these examples should serve as a guidepost for the upcoming Millennial Generation leaders who are the Leaders of Tomorrow as to how they would go about their lives in any and all walks of life.
Truly Great Leaders Rise above the Norm
Further, as mentioned earlier, while the times that one lives in do exert a certain influence on how leaders behave, it is also the case that truly great leaders can rise above the pettiness and small mindedness to become extraordinary statespersons.
For instance, Gandhi and Nehru were leaders who were often called Giants among Pygmies since they were peerless and unmatched as far as their principles and actions were concerned in relation to their followers and peers.
Even in the business world, there have been Titans of Industry such as JRD Tata who laid the foundation for Indian Businesses to thrive and succeed in those times as well as now. Indeed, in recent times, NRN of Infosys can claim to be leader who walks the talk as he leads by example by flying Economy Class, Living Simply, and Giving Away his wealth to noble causes.
What these entire leaders share in common is that they practice what they preach and are not hypocritical at all.
While the present Prime Minister of India did start on a high note to practice such leadership, it is another matter that he is stumbling in his efforts to Take All with Him and instead, is being more and narrower as far as his appeal to Indians is concerned.
Truly Great Leaders Practice What They Preach
In the world of sports and entertainment as well, there are some extraordinary leaders who are humble despite their achievements and do not let themselves be carried away by their success.
For instance, Pullela Gopichand who is a prominent figure in the world of Badminton is known for his rejection of commercial trappings of starring in ads and other endorsements of brands that he does not believe and being wholeheartedly dedicated to making India a world class Badminton nation.
Further, Rahul Dravid who is a famous cricketer is also a leader who leads by example and Walks the Talk thereby inspiring confidence and respect among his followers. Similarly, among the social activists, Medha Patkar is a leader who is an embodiment of truly great leadership.
Lastly, one does not have to be a born leader and instead, by diligence and hard work as well as by patience and persistence, one can climb the ladders of business and politics and lead by example to become truly great leaders.
All it needs is a commitment to fairness and inclusive leadership by taking all instead of a few along with them.
To conclude, in times when walls are coming up between people and we are more divided than at any other point of time, what the world needs and indeed, is crying out for are truly great leaders who can lift us from the morass and the abyss of despair and defeatism.
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