May 1, 2011

What defines Leadership?

Whether during our routine or informal conversations, it is a common feature to evaluate Leaders of State or Organizations based on their set of actions that have positively or negatively impacted their Leadership. We constructively and belligerently converse about the Do’s and Don’ts of Leadership. But what defines Leadership - and more importantly enables one to “measure” effectiveness?

Peter Drucker – the founding father of Modern Management and synonymous with Leadership – keenly explores this concept. He believes that leaders are defined by their styles and temperaments, and it's what a leader knows and does that identify its “effectiveness”.

Whether that is implied in modern day economics or political framework, the notion holds true in that efficiency is influenced by the thought-process and an inclusive approach that is for the benefit of all. Several leaders fail to carry the principle forward which affects the attainment of pre-set objectives.

Presently, it is common phenomena where leadership in state-run corporations is incapacitated due to several factors, which eventually reflect leadership orientation. The masses are upset, economics suffer, and the overall development process lags behind and takes a form of a degenerative process.

Hence, the following Leadership Principles are key to effectiveness:

Management is mostly to do with people, and not things or procedures.
Today, twice as many Indian leaders as U.S. leaders believe that human capital drives business success.

Any entity begins to die the day it is run for the benefit of the insiders and not for the benefit of the outsiders.
This is most common in State Utilities as well as Corporates marred by mismanagement, corruption and resource misallocation. This greatly affects the developmental process.

Know the value of planned abandonment.
Decide what not to do. Drucker says, "Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all."

Focus on opportunities, not problems.
Be it leaders of state or organizations, it is common to assign best resources to problems, not opportunities – harming goal-orientation and delivery of objectives.

Engaging an inclusive approach.
No individual has the skills or ability to do every job. The purpose of a team is to make strengths productive and weaknesses irrelevant.

Leadership is governed by many principles, ideologies, and thought leadership. The above are the most common guidelines for a Leader to succeed - according to me. Let me know what you think!


  1. Anonymous04 May, 2011

    well written article. most importantly, i think that leaders should lead by example!

  2. Anonymous04 May, 2011

    the above is from me btw :) can't log into my gmail from office. -jiamun