Leadership is not a quality, it is an experience

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PARAMAHAMSA SRI NITHYANANDA on Leadership LEADERSHIP is not a quality. It is an experience that an individual who has undergone personal growth and transformation radiates. This is the simple truth. There are so many books these days about leadership and how it is an important part of making an organization successful. There are so many leadership gurus who teach and train people in organizations to ‘develop’ leadership. Yet when we look at all organizations, be it businesses, government services or in the area of social services, true leaders are rare. A true leader is a person who is ready to take responsibility consciously. He is ready to handle life consciously and he is not constantly dependent on the past. A true leader is a person who is able to respond spontaneously to situations. He is fresh in his ideas and continuously keeps himself alive. A small story: There was once a great war between two countries. On a hot afternoon, a man in civilian clothes was riding past a small group of tired soldiers digging a huge pit, doing a seemingly impossible task. The group leader was shouting orders and threatening punishment if the work was not completed within the hour. The man riding the horse stopped and asked, ‘Sir, why can’t you help them yourself?’ The group leader replied, ’I am the leader. The men do as I tell them. If you feel so strongly, go help them!’ The man worked with the soldiers till the job was finished! Before leaving, he congratulated the soldiers for their work, and approaching the group leader said, ‘The next time your status prevents you from supporting your people, inform your higher authorities and I will provide a more permanent solution.’ The group leader was completely surprised. Only now he realized that the man was in fact the army general! Most of us achieve the status of a leader, but not the state. State is totally different from status. Status comes from society. When I use the word ‘state’ I mean our inner space. Our inner space should be mature enough to handle the responsibility, which we assume. Each one of us is a potential leader. The quality of leadership arises from one’s ability to take responsibility for a particular organization, a situation or a particular group with tremendous awareness and maturity. Leadership is simply a conscious choice made by an individual to act out of deep sensitivity and awareness to one’s situation and surrounding. Then automatically, the inner space will start transforming and send out the right words and actions.