The road to leadership

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The road to leadership

Leadership has always been talked about, but today, we hear a lot more about it. Also, it is one of the most researched topics in the world.

Management schools highlight their emphasis on leadership development in their curriculum to market their course. For job seekers, it has almost become fashionable to include leadership skills as one of their attributes in their resume or biodata as employers look forward to it. So leadership is a much sought after trait in today’s scenario, specifically for young students.

Would you like to grow as a leader? If your answer is ‘yes’, then you should also know that it is possible. By adopting leadership qualities you’ve every opportunity to put yourself on the path of leadership. It is very easy to live a life without direction. Those who want to become leaders choose their direction and take charge of their life. Instead of blaming the situation, leaders take initiative for betterment and work for bringing positive change in their chosen area.

If you’re keen to take initiatives and work towards bringing positive change in your own life and also for others, then you’re ready to begin your leadership journey. Here are a few suggestions for you.

Don’t always look for comforts. It is said that real progress comes when you move out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, things will go on well and sometimes you’ll come across difficult situations. Accept difficult situations as part of life and find your way through it. Be open to changes. Take a look at your routine and habits with a purpose to explore what needs to be changed to make you more effective and successful. Initially, when trying to change, you’ll face both difficulty and resistance. But you should be persistent about any change which is good for you. Some changes in your life may come from external situations. Accept those and learn to cope with them.

Taking hard decisions and sticking to them is also a leadership trait. There may be certain decisions required to be taken in your own interest which you may not like in the beginning at least. This also brings the issue of thinking long term. Whatever you do, you should think of its long- term consequences. Take the example of telling a lie. Everyone should know that a lie can be uncovered and the liar’s credibility may be at stake.

Self-awareness is something which we take for granted. It requires courage to recognise one’s shortcomings and how these are pulling us back. There are people who unnecessarily argue or have other bad manners but they are not aware of these. Once we know where we’re at fault, only then can we take corrective measures.

Clarity about your goals in life and  what you want to achieve is very much needed. When you have this, it will be easier for you to formulate your strategy for achieving these. Your goals should be ‘SMART’- specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic and time bound. How you achieve something is no less important than what you achieve. Avoid shortcuts and manipulations to get something or reach your goal.

Leaders are expected to communicate well. So work on bettering your communication skills which includes being a good listener. Grab the opportunities of public speaking that come your way. When young, you may want to do so many things at a time. But distractions need to be avoided. Focus on fewer things which are more important for your career and life. Leaders need to be focused. The kind of life you’ll lead will be decided by the choices you make. So be careful in making choices.

Leaders are self-motivated. External motivation has no meaning till it gets converted into intrinsic motivation. Self- motivation should be your strength and your driving force. If you get some encouragement, appreciation etc. from outside, this should be treated as icing on the cake.

Do read about people who have made their mark as leaders. There are biographies and autobiographies. You may get valuable insights from books like I Too Had A Dream and Simply Fly (autobiographies respectively of Verghese Kurien of Amul fame and Captain G R Gopinath who introduced low cost flying in India). Who knows, over a period of time, you may also be put in the same league.

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