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Character of an institution is reflected in its leader.

"If wealth is lost nothing is lost,
If health is lost something is lost,
If character is lost everything is lost."

There are thousands and thousands of people who fought for Indian independence but only hand full names are heard a loud and they are called leaders as they lead.

One of the shining examples is that the world knows our country India by Gandian philosophies. He showed outstanding persona of “servant-leadership” by showing how he took care of his followers first. His theory of Ahimsa “Non-violence” the world knows us as being a tolerant nation, with a wide range of diversity, having different practices and faiths, still living with peace.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way-.John C. Maxwell. Leaders provide that backbone to an establishment, around which it develops, it blossoms into a bigger entity encompassing the dream of very individual working for the cause of the institution. They provide them with a vision, a need to achieve excellence and outgrow themselves into a better individual.

There are few vital features that outline an institution. And it is interesting to note that these institutions were defined around the vision of the leaders who set them up. Whether we are heading a country or a parent, whether we run a huge organisation or just a small firm somewhere down the line. Positive influence emanates from all of us, so does negative as well.

This reminds me a famous quote” yatha guru, thatha sishya” which means “As the teacher, so are the disciples”.

Leadership denotes a mutual behaviour pattern between the leader and his followers. Leadership is a two way affair. The followers influence the behaviour of the leader in as much as the leader influences their behaviour. The concept of leadership can be understood only in the context of followers. Without followers there can be no leader. Leadership involves the element of willing and voluntary obedience by the followers. Leadership is based on cooperation and goodwill. Sheer threat and force cannot maintain one a leader for long. Leadership is specific to a specific situation.

Leadership requires charisma, passion, vision, intelligence, an unexpectedly great skill at back room politics, and an ability to pull together adversaries that would rather kill each other than work together. Successful leaders walk the talk, demonstrating the behaviours required to achieve the goal. Like minded individuals will want to be part of the success mission. The leader moves forward, turned on by the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead. But no risk no returns.

This is where leadership becomes most important; but not just leadership at the top. While we know that senior leaders set the tone for action, they do not by themselves achieve the outcome for the organization. It is how leaders at every level act to inspire and promote right action that determines the performance and the culture of the whole.

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. To lead is a different challenge in this present day. Former president of Kenya Mwaikibaki said that “Leadership role is a privilege to better the lives of others; it is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed”

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.-Nelson Mandela

- Nithin V Rajan

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