In my career of international youth affairs, I have met many leaders and change makers who have accomplished something commendable in their lives and more than that they have also inspired others to dream that change is possible when one has a strong desire to strive for the mission. However at the same time, I often reflect in this desire for change, we often forget the basic rules of leadership and the way we want to make impact. This is particularly important for our millennial generation because we just can't afford to imitate the previous models of leadership. Of course we have the best cases and inspiring stories to stimulate our thoughts but again we have to realize that we are living in a different age where our set of values and action can have positive and negative impact on society. In my view we definitely need to move away from the traditional forms of leadership and transition towards the new models which would drastically change the functioning of business, government and social sector. Therefore it is important to reflect 6 key qualities which are not only essential for our generation but also for existing leaders to create a sustainable impact whether you are CEO, Head of State, Social Activist or an Entrepreneur.
When it comes to gravity, true leaders have their thoughts deeply grounded in their purpose of life, as my dear friend, Seren Dalkiran, co-founder of SEN Network used to say "What does it means to be a human". I think we all have to realize that the goal of leadership is not just about making a good career after university, rather it stretches far more beyond that where we have to ask this basic question to ourselves, what is our purpose as human beings to be born on this planet?
We are living in the age of knowledge which is the key to success; having the knowledge from multiple domains can give you the edge over others. I have seen so many young professionals who live in disciplinary silos and have such a narrow way of seeing the world. How often do we take out time to learn about language, art, history and poetry, spirituality and other social sciences which can open the door towards new ways of thinking and exploration?
Picture: Umesh Mukhi at an International Forum
So many times I have seen, my own students, my peers who have amazing qualities lack courage despite their talent and I often wonder why they lack it. Perhaps it is because of fear of failure and the results. President Lincoln is the best example of showing exemplary courage in as lawyer, as politician and as businessman. We need to break our own mental boundaries of failure, and to me personally the best mantra to practice courage is to consistently say to me, "What will happen if you fail, at the end of the day you won't achieve the result, but at least you will live on to try again"
They say diplomacy is perceived to pursue self-interests, however, on the contrary, we can show that it could be used to pursue larger interest of the society. Often in the spirit of change we fail to develop the tactics and skills required to deal with the situation, this is where we need efficient diplomatic skills to ensure that our mission can get maximum leverage from different stakeholders. At a human level, we need to incorporate soft and hard diplomatic skills which are essential to accomplish our leadership mission.
A leader is a person who is always humble, just like a tree giving us fruits, like Mother Earth nourishing us without any demands. So where you are, whatever you accomplish, do ensure that your feet are always on the ground and be thankful to your peers and people around you who have helped you to evolve as a leader.
Finally, we should not forget that in reality it's not that difficult to develop these qualities, the only thing which we require is the "True Desire" to transform ourselves. Once that true desire is established, we can witness the transformation within ourselves which could be terms as "Sahaja" which is a Sanskrit work for spontaneous and automatic. The beauty of this transformation is that it comes from heart, not from the brain; it is about who we are naturally rather than who we want to become artificially.