Three Simple Mantras for Leadership Development

Three Simple Mantras for Leadership Development

In the South and East Asian Christian context there is a potential leadership gap. The success of the business world is that it has adequate talent pool of leadership availability. Even though lot of people write, talk and preach about leadership, one thing I realized with my personal experience in ministry was people are not interested in developing leaders. Everyone is interested in developing followers. In other word, one of the challenges I faced in my journey related with leadership development is that people  are developing underdogs and not top dogs.  This is also can be connected with the cultural implications. In the Indian context the tragedy is that the primarily leaders are born not grown. It is the tragic story to look for succession within the family tradition and it is part of the culture in the religious and political scenario of India, Middle East and elsewhere. This kind of religious and political leadership style can be called mushroom style, everyone in the dark except their family members.

According to research mostly innovation takes place while group of people working together to resolve the problems and it is not always from top down. We should be able to trust our selves enough to trust others.  One of the reason why I spent last 6 years of my research work in the field of counseling was because of one fundamental fact i.e. "Improving your leadership skill can only be possible by improving yourself ". One of the greatest reward in my personal life is to see people’s potential reached.    

If you are serious about developing leaders please look into the following mantras. First of all, EMPATHY (ability to feel and recognize the feeling of others). If you want to be a best leader or if you want to develop the best leaders remember the word empathy. Being in the periphery is dangerous and not pleasurable so everyone wants to be safely surrounded and wanted to be valued by others. Empathy stands always in the opposite pole of sympathy. It is not always agreeing but understanding the frame of reference of the other. This will allow one to be free, feel safe, courage to take risk and can have a healthy relationship. No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care said Theodore Roosevelt. Without innovation and growth every ministry stagnates and eventually fades away. One of the reason why I wanted to see young leaders coming up because they have innovative ideas and willingness to think outside of the box. One of the tragedy I see with the Christian leadership in India is that even at the age of 95 the leaders wanted to be in power and it is not different from the political parties.

The second most important aspect in leadership is LIFELONG LEARNING. We live in a complex and rapid changing context of technological advancement and demographical shifts. Great leaders are lifelong learners. Leadership is a journey and a good leader never stop learning. Some people are stagnated in their learning. It is same like the polluted water. In the biblical context there is no life in Dead Sea, because it had no out-let. Leadership and learning are inseparable to each other. Leaders learn constantly and continuously, not only from his or her superiors but from every one and from everywhere. The good news is that every person is a leader in some capacities.  Keep learning as part of your everyday life. Recently I heard someone saying me it takes only 20 hours to learn a new thing. The question is are you still learning a lot?

Third is, leaders helps to FULFILL THE DREAMS IN OTHERS.  Leaders identify the dreams and maximize the potentials not only in themselves but in others. The power of a leader is his or her capacity to use the dreams. Often people say dreams are free but the cost of achieving those dreams are pricy.  If dreams are free why can’t you free your dreams? Dreams are like road map or GPS but the road map or GPS will not take you there until you take the efforts to drive. It is an assurance but not a fulfillment.  If your dreams inspire others then dream more as you are a leader the world is waiting for. A leader is eternity designed because it doesn’t stop with him or her. Michelangelo once said: "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." The best way to predict the future is not to approach a prophet or an astrologer but to create one for yourself. The windshield may not be clearer in comparison to the rearview mirror but that is the direction we need to travel.

Binu Peniel © 2016


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