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April 2018
3 Essential Elements of Effective Leadership
Authored by: Shashikant Yadav

While we have unanimous agreement on the need of “Strong leadership” to deal with global challenges, we are still dealing with different philosophies of leadership. Some school of thoughts suggests that leaders are born while others advocate that Leadership is nothing but the behavioral excellence of an individual demonstrating best of human values in the time of crisis.

Amid all these differences, there are 3 traits of leadership which every Leader must have in common.

  •    Integrity
  •    Capability
  •    Passion

Integrity:  Integrity is primary and foremost essential element of leadership.

Integrity in leadership is a combination of honesty and moral principles which is also termed as character or strength of character of a Leader.

History is filled with numerous examples of Integrity.

Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi’s story of becoming “Mahatma Gandhi” is quite a good illustration on how adhering to some of the human values can drastically shape the destiny of an individual as well as a whole nation.

Capability: This is 2nd in line and another very important element of Leadership. This aspect of leadership deals with skill development and learnability. This is also about leveraging the full potential of a leader as individual and professional.

This extensively deals with will and skill aspect of a leader.

From learning a new skill to spotting a new opportunity. From relevant questing to addressing a daunting social problem. From building a highly motivated team to try new ideas. It is about developing and adopting every possible way to enable the change.

An apt example is Mr. Narayan Murthy and early days of Infosys.

Narayan Murthy was born in the middle class and grew up with limited resources. In his young days, he became very clear that we can’t distribute poverty, we can just distribute the wealth. But for the wealth to be distributed, it has to be created first.

These beliefs brought the need for entrepreneurship in him which led to the foundation of Infosys. This was just the beginning and another 10 years were the pure test of Narayan Murthy capabilities to deal with the non-cooperative bureaucratic system, infrastructure limitations, shortage of funds, global perception towards Indian capabilities of delivering world-class IT Solutions and much more to list.

Success and achievements of Infosys have proved the capability of Narayan Murty’s leadership.

Passion:  Passion is the 3rd most powerful arrow in leader’s quiver; this is also termed as fuel for leadership ambitions. It's only the passion that brings life to the dreams of a leader.

Passion practiced with strong integrity and capability moves a leader to Influencer category and its influence only that earns a leader its fame.

We made the buttons on the screen look so good you'll want to lick them. Steve Jobs

Our DNA is as a consumer company - for that individual customer who's voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That's who we think about. And we think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it's not up to par, it's our fault, plain and simply. Steve Jobs

Above 2 quotes are a very good example of Steve Jobs passion for quality and customer delight.

Great leaders also have been very successful in associating their core values with greater social or organizational goals to attain more fulfilling outcomes.

Like Mahatma Gandhi, he practiced truth and non-violence in his daily life. At the same time, he could envision the importance of both the above-mentioned values in attaining the independence for India. Rest is history, how Indian youth was mobilized and the whole nation stood together with value-based independence Movement.

The concept of leadership will keep flourishing to get more appropriate in the near future. While a leader's actions may be scrutinized when things go bad, it is their leadership qualities that shine through the worst of times. It is these same qualities that employees look up to, respect, and work very hard for. This is why it is so important for every leader to work hard to be an effective leader.

[Infographic]: Best Practices for Effective Leadership