Guiding Light by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What makes a Leader?

What are the qualities of a good leader? How can you be a dynamic, confident and enthusiastic leader?

Sri Sri Ravi ShankarUpdated: Sunday, July 03, 2022, 11:09 PM IST
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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 its axis? Are you in control of the thoughts that come into your head? So, when you realise you really do not have any control over all the major things that are happening in your life then you will realise 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 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 good leader is one who does not drop things when challenges appear; rather, he is alert in times of crisis rather than being disturbed by it. A leader should have a fine balance of listening to the head as well as the heart.

When you judge yourself, you are judging others also. Then you oscillate 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 oneself beyond the comfort zone. Anything creative, dynamic and great can happen only when you stretch beyond your comfort zone where you are often stuck.

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 sense of sacrifice is needed.

A good leader should be 'satya-darshi' (truthful), 'sam-darshi' (equanimous), ‘priya-darshi’ (pleasant personality), ‘par-darshi’(transparent) and 'door-darshi' (far-sighted). A leader should have a mission and a vision and a spirit of sacrifice, compassion and commitment.

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