Is leadership about owning ten Bentleys? Or is it about being a good human being? In this age of ‘alternative facts’, it’s honourable to stick to what we’ve been taught about man’s fundamental goodness. That goodness is the DNA of leadership.
There are many good leaders, but for you to be a great one, you have to abide by these four pillars of leadership.
In the past, the noblest thing a person could say to another is “I’ll die for you.” As a leader, you must be willing to sacrifice – give up a number of things for the betterment of yourself and your team or community. You have to give up habits and addictions that are slowly destroying you and the people around you. You have to be strong enough to keep tempting indulgences at bay. And, you must be willing to take a bullet for your comrades. Leadership comes with ownership and accountability.
Mercy does not wander far from sacrifice. It’s about being compassionate – the inability to bear the suffering of others. It’s innate for a leader to be mindful of the pain someone carries and to offer to take on some of that burden. Without hesitation, you would do this for someone you value, someone you love. Same goes for leading a team. You don’t treat your teammates as your subjects; you treat them as your partners. You nurture your relationship with them, develop them into better individuals, redeem them from their troubles, and praise and celebrate their successes. Leaders are not defined by titles, but by character.
As a leader, you must ensure that you are clean in heart and habit. Be disciplined enough to take control of your senses. Don’t allow yourself to get swallowed by worldliness. Be benevolent in your actions. Be worthy of your followers’ emulation. Ensure that your decisions benefit each and every one within your reach.
Taste before you eat, hear before you listen, look before you see, touch before you feel, and smell before you breathe in. As intelligent beings, we have these amazing abilities; let’s always put them to good use.
A leader must know ‘the truth’ – this entails knowing and understanding your identity and basing your decisions and actions upon it. This is not an easy feat, though. The person you lie to the most every day, is yourself. You tend to misidentify yourself with worldly labels, forgetting the basic truth that you’re limitless only in the spiritual realm. Going back to this truth and anchoring your life on it takes a lot of humility. And, humility is a leader’s best quality.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”– Sun Tzu, The Art Of War.
Leadership is not an accident. You’re not born with it. It’s something that you truly work hard on. You practise to become a good leader by serving others. You become an example to yourself first, and then to others. It’s all about what you practise daily. What you practise not only makes you perfect, it also makes you who you are. So, ask yourself, “What do I practise daily?” It’s what makes your destiny.