Author of “Quest for Exceptional Leadership: Mirage to Reality” & Chairman, CeNext Consulting and Investment Ltd, New Delhi
People all over the world wonder why there are so few good leaders who command trust and deliver results. Has the quality of leadership declined or have we become more demanding? Most likely, a bit of both.
“another world is possible”
Those taking on the mantle of leadership in society and business today need to acknowledge that we are moving on to a new phase of human enterprise, driven by increased demand for social consciousness and the need to function in sync with society and environment. Several potent forces are accelerating this process, stemming from the rise of ‘knowledge-based civil society’ and ‘predominance of youth in demographics’, based on the premise that “another world is possible”.
Leaders who accept this new ‘realism’ will emerge as winners in the 21st century provided they can acquire a few new leadership traits.
Till now, the Base Camp Leadership Traits ensured success. These comprised traits relating to strengths within (i.e. physical traits such as energy and drive, basic intelligence, and professional will) and traits relating to interface with outside world (i.e. mind-traits such as pragmatic vision, transactional skills, and perseverance).
traits of conscience: pertaining to the hearts of the leaders
In today’s demandingly complex world, I envisage the need for a new set of traits, beyond the physical traits and the mind-traits. These are the traits of conscience: pertaining to the heart of the leader.
These do not call upon us to change our hearts. They only require us to discover our hearts. These are the traits of Wholeness, Compassion and Transparency.
Of these, wholeness is the transformational trait. Typically, a leader’s view is taken from the perceiver’s vantage, with reference to her mind and processed in her intellect. A complete 360-degree view is difficult, and yet only half the job.
a 720-degree view
Each of our decisions and actions has an impact on others – directly or indirectly. The ‘whole wholeness’ comes when we take an additional 360-degree view, as perceived by others, with reference to their minds and as processed in their thoughts. Wholeness is a 720-degree view
A 360-degree view excludes; a 720-degree view includes those who are excluded. A 720-view is the only yardstick of ‘inclusive development’, global leaders talk about.
The seeds of these traits already exist in most leaders. It is the nature of seeds to grow. If we are aware of these seeds and let the seeds within us blossom, every leader can acquire these. It is for us, the citizens, not to let down our guard and continue to seek exceptional leadership. If we persist, I foresee this happening, quite soon.