“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails”
The immediate visual that pops up at the mention of the world ‘leader’ is a person with a group of followers. But a leader is not just about power or control. Any person who can inspire, motivate and bring about a positive change in people’s minds is a leader. And a leader leads by example and not by force. A leader does not necessarily feature in CNN interviews and appear on the cover of Forbes magazine to qualify as one. Your next door neighbor who funds her maid’s children’s education is also a leader. A leader does not do great things but does small things in a great way.
What are the leadership qualities that we come across in such people in everyday life and how do we inculcate those in our children?
- The primary and most common characteristic of all leaders is confidence and faith in his ideologies and practices. Going that extra mile to make things happen with the broader goals in mind is true leadership quality. A leader makes things happen because the focus is on making the RIGHT things happen and not the EASY things. Children start observing the world around them very early in life and it is important to help them distinguish between right and wrong and stand up for the right values by exposing them rather than just give them tips on scoring high in Moral Education exams.
- The ultimate goal should be of prime focus and a true leader does not deviate from this come what may. The path to glory will certainly not be a bed of roses but true leadership quality comes from teaching them how to develop strategies to overcome hurdles and not get worn out by the challenges. As parents, motivation and inspiration are the only support we can lend by sidestepping and cheering our offspring. The taste of success is sweet and achieving the little goals by itself is an encouragement to aim for the next and bigger step towards success. Our role is very small compared to their efforts, but a very significant and mandatory one in their lives.
- Values: No person in this world is infallible and a leader is no exception to this. But what make him worthy of looking up to for inspiration are his beliefs and ethics; and the readiness to accept his faults and shortcomings with sincere apologies. A leader is a brand by himself irrespective of the organization he represents. By exposing children to situations that involve team work, we hone their cooperation and communication skills and enhance their decision making skills. Inculcating proper humility in dignity of labor, sharing and empathy make them better human beings.
Some are born leaders while some are made. While not every parent can be a leader, they can certainly be a mentor to their children to become one. It’s the training and education that makes all the difference.
A small word of caution though; while leadership skills and qualities are most sought after, it becomes imperative here to emphasize that a leader also can be someone’s follower whom he derives his influence from. While I write this article, I realize all thoughts being penned are a result of years of learning from various sources; hence, no one is ever born great; it takes a society to make one a great person and a true leader aims to give back a portion of what he has attained.