All entries for Friday 01 April 2011
April 01, 2011
I'd like to share with you something interesting I read about leadership today, its something obvious but I found out it quite interesting. This is how a Navy commancder describes leadership....
The USS San Antonio stands 694 feet long, 105 feet wide, 13 stories tall and 25,000 tonnes and can be quite intimidating to us but not to Commander Brad Lee, a 40 year old officer from the Navy. He is responsible for approximately 400 soldiers, twice as many Marines, numerous smaller vessels, fighter aircrafts and vehicles and also the tactical support team for the marine Air Ground Task Force. For him “Every sailor is important and success is never a one-man mission”. According to Lee, leadership is about making a difference to the lives of the others and the society. It’s about having love and passion for what you do while trying to create a better world to live in.
Most of us when we think of leaders, we tend to think about historical figures and “big names”, however Leaders like Brad Lee are make difference in their own ways. Leadership can be applied anywhere, in any organisation in any organisation and at any scale. In our individual way we can contribute towards our society by leading some kind of change.
With whatever I am reading about leadership theories, they seem to be extremely theoretical (ofcourse they are theories, thats why)!! Although, these theories part vast knolwledge, they somtimes seem too idealistic and bookish knowledge. Why is it so difficult to find practical application of these theories? You can find leaders who are a perfect example of such leadership styles, but is hard to find a model which suggests the practical way to achieve such leadership styles. I want to read a book which identifies effective leaders of today, and how did they achieve that, did they use any leadership theories? were they just born this way?? etc etc
Motivate employees, how? Be a role model, how? Be charismatic, how? Improve your communciations skills, how? Identify the needs of the employees, how? Its interesting to read about these theories, but it'll be more interesting to actually find out how to do it in realistic terms??
Leadership is needed everywhere, its not just restricted to organisations. This makes me reflect back to something interesting that I witnessed a couple of days back...
Few days ago I was watching Sky News, the reporter was taking interviews of Libya's civilians who particapate actively in mass demonstrations and protests again Gaddafi. Mind you, these civilians possess all sorts of fire arms, weapons and ammunitions. He asked them a simple question:
Reporter: When you want to carry out protests and demonstrations, who leads you?
Civilian (a software engineer holding a gun) : We just randomly start attacking when we want to...
Reporter: Okay, so who is your leader/commander:
Civilian: I don't know
Reporter: Does anyone here know who their leader is.
No civilian knows the answer.
What we see here is although thousands of Libyans are passionately and voluntarily fighiting for their rights against an autocrat and bully, much of their effort goes in vain parrticularly because there is no guiding force to direct them. There is no one to give orders. No leader? There is so much of chaos everywhere!! Won't there efforts produce better result if there was a leader? It is important that the civilians elect a leader for themselves if they want to be successful, else it can be very difficult. Their rebel will have a much more powerful impact with effective leadershsip. Leadership is needed everywhere!!
While doing my PMA, aa question that often arises is whether the leaders are born or made. In my understanding, the way people behave, their personlity and their nature is not esentially by birth. I think its the learning that takes over the years is what moulds us to be the way they are today. I strongly believe its our upbringing, our observations, the mistakes we makes, the values taught to us by our parents, peers, school, education etc etc that is responsible for the basic fundaments/elements of our behaviour. Will I behave the same way if I had different parents, different kinds of friends, or if I went to a different school?? Yes.
Moreover, I think my thinking is also influence by the fact that I dont believe in destiny. I think whatever happens to us if not our fate, its the result of our actions. We are the creators of our destiny. We control our destiny and not the other way round. Same way, I think that when we are born, we are like clay and slowly moulded by external and internal factors into what we are today. Also, I like the flexibility and the openess of the idea that leaders are made and not born, this makes me believe that anyone can be a leader (whether situational, motivational, charismatic etc.), anyone can transform, continuous imporvement is always happening. We are not what we are just by nature, we make ourselves! We are the creators.