Guiding Light by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A leader knows when to let go

A leader should have a fine balance of listening to the head as well as the heart. If you mix your head and heart, you are in a mess

Sri Sri Ravi ShankarUpdated: Sunday, February 20, 2022, 05:37 PM IST
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What are the qualities of a good leader? How can you be a dynamic, confident and an enthusiastic leader? A major aspect of good leadership is letting go of control. Are you in control when you’re sleeping or when you’re dreaming? No! Are you in control of any other function in your body? Your heart is pumping all by itself. Are you in control of the Sun and Moon moving around the globe or even the globe rotating on itself? Are you in control of the thoughts that come into your head? So, when you realize you really do not have any control over all major things that are happening in your life then you will realize that the idea that you are in control is an illusion. And this will relax you.

A leader sets an example. He doesn’t just order things; he does it first so that others can do it. A good leader is the one who creates leaders and not followers. He takes good care of those whom he is leading. He delegates responsibility.

A leader does not worry about position. The respect that one gains through virtue is very different from the respect one gains through the position. The respect you get through a position is short-lived and temporary. But the respect that you gain because of your virtues, your attitude, is there with you all the time. You may be a chairman of this committee, a president of that committee, or you may be a barrister here or a governor of some state — these are all momentary, temporary. These positions come and go. And the respect you get because of this position is not genuine, it is not from the heart, it is not true. But the respect you gain because you are a nice person is genuine, it lasts long.

A leader should have a fine balance of listening to the head as well as the heart. If you mix your head and heart, you are in a mess! When you have to work, you work with commitment and you live with your head. In life, in situations other than when you are working, listen to your heart.

Self-judgment is an obstacle. Don’t judge yourself. When you judge yourself, you are judging others too. Then your mind oscillates like a pendulum. Judgment is very similar to self-blame and blaming others.

A good leader is one who does not care for comfort, but who stretches himself beyond the comfort zone. Anything creative, dynamic and great can happen only when you stretch beyond your comfort zone where you are often stuck. You think you cannot do something: just make an effort and put one step ahead, and you will find that you are expanding your comfort zone. Creativity transcends your comfort zone.

A leader should have a long term vision and should have short term plans to work on it. A leader should have integrity and should be sincere in wishing well for the country before oneself. That amount and that sense of sacrifice is needed. A good leader should be 'satya-darshi' (truthful), 'sam-darshi' (equanimous), ‘priya-darshi’(pleasant personality), ‘par-darshi’(transperant) and 'door-darshi' (farsighted). A leader should have a mission and a vision and a spirit of sacrifice, compassion and commitment.

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