Indore: ‘Cardinal attribute of leadership is professional knowledge’

Indore: “The first, the primary, indeed the cardinal attribute of leadership is professional knowledge and professional competence. You cannot be born with professional knowledge and professional competence even if you are the child of the prime minister, or the son of an industrialist or the progeny of a field marshal,” said motivational speaker Pratik Uppal, who was moderating a film show organised on occasion of 54th foundation day of Indore Management Association (IMA) at IMA meeting room.

Uppal said that “Professional knowledge and professional competence have to be acquired by hard work and by constant study. In this fast-moving technologically developing world you can never acquire sufficient professional knowledge. You have to keep at it, and at it, and at it. Unless you know what you are talking about, unless you understand your profession, you can never be a leader.”

The next thing for leadership is the ability to make up mind and make a decision and accept full responsibility for that decision, he argued.
According to the law of averages, if you take ten decisions, five ought to be right. If you have professional knowledge and competence, nine will be right and the one that might not be correct will probably be put right by a subordinate officer or colleague. But if you do not take a decision you are doing something wrong, the motivational speaker said.

“Next attribute of leadership is moral and physical courage. Moral courage is the ability to distinguish right from wrong and having done so, say so when asked, irrespective of what your superiors might think or what your colleagues or your subordinates might want. A ‘yes man’ is a dangerous man. He may rise very high; he might even become the managing director of a company.

He may do anything but he can never make a leader because he will be used by his superiors, disliked by his colleagues and despised by his subordinates,” he elaborated Talking of physical courage– fear, like hunger and sex, is a natural phenomenon. Any man who says he is not frightened is a liar or a Gorkha. It is one thing to be frightened. It is another to show fear, he added.

Defining points leadership
Loyalty: Loyalty is always the two way path; it’s always a give and take thing. A leader will expect loyalty from subordinates and also offer loyalty to subordinates

Management of men and resources

Discipline: Basic definition of discipline is the code of conduct for decent living. A leader is always disciplined in every aspect of life
Character: Character of course includes honesty and behavior. A leader always knows about himself, his weaknesses, his strengths, his goals, etc
Professional Knowledge – the basic attribute to being a great leader must be acquired with time and can’t be a God gift irrespective of your background
Decision making capability – Leaders must be both quick as well thorough with their decisions. Once taken he must stick to it
Courage – Courage can be either moral or physical. A leader needs both. The men with moral courage, who differentiate between right and wrong are the ones who become great leaders. The Yes Man is a dangerous man, he might raise the ranks but never would he be a leader.
Character – A true leader is one who not only knows his men but also his own strengths, goals & weaknesses
Discipline – Small things matter – like being on time. Leader is someone who is looked up to. And when you are being looked upon even smallest of the things matter

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