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Character of an institution is reflected in its leader.


fine morning a boy was on a walk with his grandfather. As they headed towards the gate of the park they saw a stray dog lying completely unconscious due to a wounded leg. The dog was rammed by a speedy bike and was ignored by others. In no time the boy was found near the dog patting to bring it back to senses but seeing no reaction he took off his shirt, covered the wounded leg and took the dog all the way to a nearby veterinary clinic where the doctor treated the wound, gave painkillers and antibiotics to the dog. Fortunately boy was delighted to see dog not only surviving but recovering unexpectedly fast over the next few days. Grandfather was in tears when he uttered to the boy that “even your father had saved the life of a dog when he was of your age”. It took just the blink on an eye for the boy to realize how strong was the influence of his grandfather on the family who over the years being in the position of a leader made this institution i.e. family an epitome of good values and attitude that every member possessed.

The above story clearly depicts how leaders in an organization or an institution influence their colleagues. Charisma and aura of a leader attracts the eyes of all. Because of this only a leader is able to magnetize every follower. Rivers of thoughts flow from leaders and soon occupy the valley in the minds of followers. Perhaps these are the reasons why the authority that a leader holds not only earns him/her immense respect but also an image of a caretaker or savior of an institute. Even a small pinch of good or bad that leader does is reflected in the institute. A leader is the one who gives immediate identity to a body, contributes in a no. of ways, steers through tough times, inspires by words, leads by examples and sets standards.

We are in fact so accustomed to identifying a body by its leader that we either heap praises or criticize the leader instead of whole organization. For ex. In the international arena on one hand the institute such as World Bank and IMF are criticized because their directors and managing directors are puppets in the hands of American and European countries respectively. On the other hand, institutes such as WTO are praised as their leaders are democratically elected. So even on a global scenario a leader is sought who has a holistic approach towards a vision of welfare for all.

Broadly speaking the working style of a leader is all what decides the fate of an institution because it is that central character around which everything revolves in an institution. Starting from his attitude towards employees, ranging from his traits to his worthy words, everything has a multiplier effect on the working of an organization. Leader is the engine of a train whose performance has the direct bearing on the rest of the compartments.

History is flooded with examples which show how a leader is always in the “driver seat” that steers the mechanisms, ideologies and systems of an institute. Like let’s talk about Hitler whose name has become synonymous to the word “Dictator” over the years. How boldly he advocated the principle of hatred against Jews, thrashing them brutally and torturing them to death. Hitler sets an example of giving worst forms of plight and suffering ever given by a leader and as expected the same was followed by his followers who nourished this negative ideology and indulged themselves in horrendous killing of Jews. Contrary to that people are also quick to identify positive ideologies of an institute with its leader like Hinduism with Adi Shankracharya, Islam with Prophet Mohammad, Buddhism with Gautam Buddha, Constitution with B.R. Ambedkar and undoubtedly Freedom struggle with Mahatma Gandhi.

So story in a nutshell is that a leader and an institute are mutually connected which go hand in hand and complements each other in every way possible just like the foundation of a building which if strong, holds the element together as in all the examples above and the grandfather in the story. But if weak it may cause havoc for everyone as seen in the case of Hitler. Thus right goes the saying that “Character of an institute is reflected in its leader”

- Shailendra Chauhan