Tag Archives: #BhaktiTirthaSwami

“What Makes a Leader?”

In the 1990s, society expended great resources investigating questions of management and leadership. Managers are fairly common; real leaders are extremely rare. Managers use people to make things happen; leaders make things happen for the people. Managers often lead from the back. They may watch to see what is popular, what seems politically correct, what will help them increase their own status and especially, what will help them increase their incomes. Managers tend to be utilitarian and opportunistic.

True leaders, however, always lead from the front.
They are associated with the “four C’s”:

• Character
• Competence
• Compassion
• Courage

When we find a true leader, we will find strong performance in all these areas.

There are so many definitions for the word “leadership” in the English language alone. Such a diversity of meanings for the same word indicates that people are confused about what it means. It is a complex topic.

The work of a true leader can also be listed in descending order of significance:

• To be
• To do
• To see
• To tell

Similarly, we can categorize citizens in a general way:

• Inventors: Those who make things happen
• Resenters: Those who watch things happen (and often complain about how they are happening)
• Consenters: those who do not know what is happening, but who consent and go with the flow.

True leaders are always inventors. They are experts at making things happen. There are so many analogies to help us understand the qualities of a leader.

Here’s another one, relating to the attitude people have when they approach a hill intending to climb it:

• There are those who see the hill as an obstacle, and immediately give up their plans;
• There are those who see the hill and decide to camp at its base
• There are those who see the hill and proceed to climb it.

Those who quit are the types of people who become discouraged by adversity. They do not possess the perseverance, stamina or the deep commitment to attain the goal. Those who camp at the hill’s base may start off with enthusiasm, but they become distracted by the obstacle and lose sight of the goal.

Those who climb the hill despite the promise of difficulty have enough commitment to work for success. Their challenge is to maintain their vision and sense of mission, and by continuing to strive, they can achieve their goal.

Retired United States Army General Norman Schwarzkopf said in his analysis of losers vs. winners:
• To a loser, it may be possible, but it is difficult.
• To a winner, it may be difficult, but it is possible.
• A leader says that nothing is impossible.
• A loser will say, “It’s not my job”
• A winner will say: “Let me help you do it”
• A leader will say: “Follow me and do as I do”

Others have categorized people into winners and whiners. One should live one’s life by discipline, not emotion.
• Winners, and especially true leaders, feel good when they do right
• Whiners must feel good before they will do right
• Winners say: “I will do it because it is right, and I will feel good knowing I acted properly”
• Whiners say: “If I ever feel good about it, then I will do it”
• Winners say: “I must believe it before I can see it”
• Whiners say: “I must see it before can I believe it”

True leaders know that progress is motivating; apparent progress based on lust, greed and self-deception is actually failure.

True leaders make things happen, are winners, lead from the front and always keep the highest welfare of their constituents in mind. In this way, a leader will inspire people to come to a higher standard by their own superior qualities.

By Bhakti Tirtha Swami
In the book “Leadership for an Age of Higher Consciousness Volume II: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times”