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Character of an institution is reflected in its leader.

“A leader’s attitude is caught by his or her followers more quickly than his or her actions.”

This is an adage rightly said by John Maxwell which justifies the title of the essay. However it is just to say that the leader of any institution has his or her influence on it.

When many people come together with same ideology for the same great cause or work it forms an institution. It may be from small family to a large nation, economical like company or MNCs, for study like schools, colleges, etc. Character of such institutions means its working principle, work culture, behaviour of the institution in a society as a whole.

Now each of these institutions may it be social, political, economic, religious has to have a leader. Leader is the one who manages all the works and problems of the institution. He has to plan properly and execute them using the resources available with their maximum utility.

Also one of the important resources is the human resource. Getting work done from people is the big challenging task in front of leader. He has to inspire them, imbibe in them, and incept in them his ideology so that those who are reluctant to or against him could be taken together with other. It’s a great skill. It is said that ‘leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way’.

The influence that a leader creates among his followers is the main reason why the character of the institution is reflected in its leader. Many people tend to imitate the leaders and do as leaders do. Also people lose their accountability and surrender their responsibilities to leaders. That makes the character of institution just like the mirror to the thought process of the leader.

Let’s see some examples. Going back in history we find numerous examples. In the Mughal period, the way reign of Akbar and reign of Shahjahan differ from one another even though belonging to same dynasty mark their influence on the society. During the National Uprising period we see failure because of no proper leadership and no co-ordination among the local leaders. Also during freedom struggle, we see Lokmanya Tilak emphasizing on people’s participation in movement. Then we have Gandhi rising with his principles of ‘Ahimsa and Truth’ on one side and Bhagat Singh with his principle of ‘Inqualab Zindabad’ on the other. The times were same but different institutions fighting for the same goals in two completely different ways.

We see the same fate even in different spheres, like company works according to its CEO’s. The best example can be the one of Tata Groups. The main in the family defines the character of family as a whole. The students will follow what is taught to them in schools. Ultimately we find the students are the mirrors of their teachers. Also our economy and its reforms are defined according to the view of Finance Minister. Nation works as per the plans of Prime Minister and his Government. We can see the differences that the change in the ruling party changes the face of India as a whole in the world.

The tragedy is that, it does not just have a positive side. To trace some glimpses from history, we had Hitler who by his influence massacred thousands of Jews. In the times now, India is facing the threat from naxalism, terrorism, ISIS, etc. One corrupt mind tempts some, creates organisations that can destroy humanity. Their incentive is such that people are ready even to give up their lives for them. Use of such influencing skills for some destructive purpose is a big challenge in front of our society.

To overcome these obstacles we need the influential leaders with the correct ideals, attitudes and the ones firm on their stand. May be this is the reason we have Ethics included in Civil Service Examination. Leaders are the lights who with their just presence eliminate the darkness from every corner in the society. We do need many such lights to make outshine the brightest star in the whole world.

- Aditi Subhash Dhale

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