As I had the privilege of knowing about the qualities of great people and their life, and as I could closely watch few notable people in the society, I thought I can say something on leadership and the required qualities. I believe that in the course of expressing my view, I can be learning new things and will get myself enriched. Its true that it is very difficult to conclude as to what are all the qualities required to be a good leader. To be a good leader, one, admittedly needs many qualities. The common qualities we very often refer are like hard work, flexibility, management, planning, contacts, determination, knowledge etc. I would like to see leaders as two types like:
1. A leader who concentrates more on management rather than the core knowledge required.
2. A leader who is very knowledgeable and also good at management.
I believe that a knowledgeable person can not be a leader unless he possesses certain management qualities. But, a person without much core knowledge on the chosen field can be a good leader with certain management qualities. I could learn about Henry Ford of Ford Motors through Lee Iacocca's biography. Henry may not have that much knowledge about marketing, cars, motor industry, technology, trends etc., but, he could become a good leader by hiring the right people and he belongs to first category of leaders. Successful personalities like Lee Iacocca, Dr.Abdul Kalam, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton etc. comes under second category of leaders as I believe.
I have personally seen very very knowledgeable people who could not come-up in life as they lack certain other qualities like management, flexibility etc. Again I have seen people who can not even write a letter without mistake, but, have achieved so many things in life through their management qualities like hiring the right people, flexibility etc. Thus, to be a good leader, one must be very good at management and especially hiring the right people and using them efficiently.
But, the first category of people may face certain problems in the course, but, the second category of leaders is very very strong and could overcome any difficulty in the course. Steve Jobs could tolerate the problem when he was literally thrown out from Apple initially and only with his knowledge coupled with management qualities, he could start two new companies like the “Next” and “Pixar Communications” and later he returned and owned Apple literally. Barrack Obama too has to face many difficulties, but, only with the power of his knowledge, he has sustained and could become president of United States now.
Dealing with the issue of leadership and the qualities required, our great Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, has written three paragraphs at page no.77 of his book "Wings of Fire" and the same is extracted below.
"Anyone who has taken up the responsibility to lead a team can be successful only if he is sufficiently independent, powerful and influential in his own right to become a person to reckon with. This is perhaps also the path to individual satisfaction in life, for freedom with responsibility is the only sound basis for personal happiness. What can one do to strengthen personal freedom? I would like to share with you two techniques I adopt in this regard.
First, by building your own education and skills. Knowledge is a tangible asset, quite often the most important tool in your work. The more up-to-date the knowledge you possess, the freer you are. Knowledge cannot be taken away from anyone except by obsolescence. A leader can only be free to lead his team if he keeps abreast of all that is happening around him - in real time. To lead, in a way, is to engage in continuing education. In many countries, it is normal for professionals to go to college several nights every week. To be a successful team leader, one has to stay back after din and clutter of a working day to emerge better equipped and ready to face a new day.
The second way is to develop a passion for personal responsibility. The sovereign way to personal freedom is to help determine the forces that determine you. Be active! Take on responsibility! Work for the things you believe in. If you do not, you are surrendering your fate to others. The historian Edith Hamilton wrote of ancient Greece, “When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again". The truth is that there is a great deal that most of us can individually do to increase our freedom. We can combat the forces that threaten to oppress us. We can fortify ourselves with the qualities and conditions that promote individual freedom. In doing so, we help to create a stronger organization, capable of achieving unprecedented goals."
I believe that Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam's words as extracted above, can be useful for all and especially to the young entrepreneurs and the people who want to be a leader and to do big things.
I may be wrong in my expression and I would be very happy if my member friends/intellectuals/academicians/participants add some issues dealing with leadership and the qualities required and the same can be useful to me and others as well.