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  • Tarun Kumar


Former four-star general, Colin Powell, was asked: How would you define the key characteristics of leadership?

His answer was simple, without blinking an eyelid he uttered one word, “Trust”- A simple word with depth that is unparallel, though sounds easy, but it’s very nuanced.

The longer I have been in Leadership coaching service, more people are gravitating towards  leadership over the years. “Leadership” - It ultimately comes down to creating conditions of trust within an organization. Good leaders are people who are trusted by followers. 

Leaders take organizations past the level that the science of management says as impossible.

One of my Ustaad (Drill Sergeant) back in the Military Academy almost 30 years ago, which is where I learned everything about leadership, said to me one day: “GC! (Gentleman Cadet) You’ll know you’re a good leader when people will follow you… even if it is to evaluate what you are upto.”

I’ve never had a better definition. What he was saying, and I’ve seen it in my life since then, is they trust you, but you have to work hard to build up that trust.

How do you do it? A clear mission statement coupled with selfless service. People look-up to you and they trust you. You’re serving selflessly as the leader - not self-serving selflessly and that you prepare the followers to be the leaders of tomorrow. You train them. You give them what they need to get the job done. Importantly, you’re prepared to take the risks with them. 

Always remember, before delegating some task - "Don’t give them a job if you’re not going to give them the resources, period."

We're taught at the Training academy: No matter how cold it is, Gentleman Cadet (GC), you must never look cold. No matter how hungry you all are, GC, you must never appear hungry. No matter how terrified you are, GC, you must never look terrified.

Because if you are scared, tried, hungry and cold….the men you’ll command will be also scared, tired, hungry and cold.

I’ve gotten away with that many-many times in the course of my career by being scared to death, cold and want to sleep. But no! Let’s go. Let’s keep going. Let’s go around this corner, if only out of curiosity.

Your men will follow you into the darkest night, down the deepest valley, and up the highest hill if they trust you. So, the essence of leadership is in getting people to TRUST you…so that they will follow you against all odds.

Remember, if you can change the language, you can change the conversations.
If you change the conversations,
you can ultimately change the outcomes.
In this world “Change” is the only constant.

Developing leadership qualities in others is the way to ensure success in today’s competitive world, because the one asset that truly appreciates within any organization is People. Systems become outdated, buildings deteriorate and machinery wears but People can grow, develop & become more effective, if they have a leader who understands their potential value. 

If you want to be a successful leader, you must develop others leaders around you. You must establish a Team. You must find a way to get your vision seen, implemented and contributed to by others.

Most leaders have followers around them. They believe the key to leadership is gaining more followers. Few leaders surround themselves with other leaders, the ones who bring great value to their organisations & carry on with the enlarged vision. 

An organisation’s Growth potential is directly related to its Personnel potential. I’m often amazed at the amount of money, time and effort organizations  spend on areas that will not produce growth. 

Slick brochures and catchy slogans never compensate for blotched leadership.

As a leader, I sometimes hear counsel that I don’t want to hear but need to hear. That’s the advantage of having leaders around you – having people who know how to make decisions. 

Followers tell you what you want to hear, Leaders tell you what you need to hear.

In other words, an opinion before a decision has been made has potential value but is worthless after the decision has been made. These budding leaders become sounding board for growth in an organisation. 

Fellow leaders do more than work with leaders, they think like leaders. It gives them the power to lighten the load. This becomes invaluable in areas such as decision making, brainstorming and providing security & direction to others.

“No executive has ever suffered because his people were strong & effective.” - Peter Drucker

People who share a common direction and sense of community get where they are going much faster and with less effort because they travel on one another’s trust. The truth is that Leadership is not considered effective while one is around but what can still be accomplished when one is gone.

This is the Essence of Leadership and the results are simply gratifying. It’s high time you have to decide whether you want to be a Leader of Followers or Leader of Leaders?

Choice is yours and so is your destiny…. Choose wisely!!!

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