Leadership is About Effective Handling of Change

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights. ~Pauline R. Kezer

Change is an inevitable part of life. But it is not easy to either change or to deal with change. There are two important factors for effective change: First, our perception of the situation and second, our attitude to embrace rather than resist the change. In short, change should first happen inside each one of us.

Let me narrate an interesting story…

It was Pete Gray’s dream to play baseball in the Yankee Stadium one day. At the age of twelve he was an excellent right-handed pony baseball player and represented his school in the game. And then one fateful day his dreams came crashing down…….

While doing chores on the family’s Pennsylvania farm, Pete slipped and fell off his father’s pickup truck. This completely crushed his right arm without which it was virtually impossible to play baseball. Anyone else would have given up their dreams but not young Pete!

The Adidas ad says, “Impossible is Nothing” – a slogan that Pete entirely embraced. He taught himself to bat, bowl and field with his left hand. His speed, strong throwing arm, and excellent athletic ability allowed Pete to perform this miracle quickly enough to be a solid, dependable outfielder.

Against all odds, by the 1944 season, the one-armed outfielder had a batting score of 333, stole 63 bases, and won the League’s Most Valuable Player award. Baseball fans were astounded!!!

One year later, in 1945, the one-armed outfielder, Pete, achieved his boyhood dream when his team, the Browns, played against the Yankees. The Browns defeated the Yankees, and Pete played a major role in his team’s victory.

As Robert E. Quinn rightly said, “One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.”

Perhaps that is why Gandhiji said, “Be the change you want to see.”

Are Leaders Born Or Made?

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Leadership is an inherent ability that empowers the individual to lead and inspire others. The question that has been surrounding leadership is – are leaders born or made?

My firm belief is that there lies an inherent trait within every individual – a latent fire which when fanned, has the capacity to burn bright. It is definitely at the hour of need that a leader emerges. History is bountiful with stories of great individuals who have rose despite their circumstances and made sweeping changes. We now remember them with pride and reverence. M.K. Gandhi, APJ Abdul Kalam, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa are a few of my favourites, but there are many more who have stood firm and led others through the right path to achieve what they believed in. It is through these exemplary individuals that we reconfirm the fact that the impossible can be made possible. It is a re-emphasis to the fact that anything can be achieved with a willing mind.

The best thing for all who are wondering how to emulate these people are concerned is through practicing leadership qualities in all that we do. In the Leadership Training conducted by MMM Training Solutions, we focus on one of the first steps towards achieving this – teaching participants to take accountability of theiractions. This is one amongst a number of leadership traits that maketh a great leader.

If there is a threat to survival, our basic instinct directs us to save ourselves. And we do this by any means possible. The same sense of urgency must be present in all that we do – we must endeavour to give our best efforts into what requires our attention. Ofcourse, they would be days when you feel tired. Take rest if you must, but return with increased vigor and focused determination to work on your task.

“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”

Recall instances in your life where you have led – either by example or by effort. These may be smaller or larger instances. These instances may have created a tiny ripple, or they may have brought about a sea tide of change. Whatever be the case, relive the instance in your mind. Recall how you reacted in the situation. You may be surprised at the manner in which you chose to act in that instance. Savour the moment, and resolve to live with the same ideals hereafter.

Whether leaders are born or made, the quality needs to be nurtured in order for it to reach maximum potential.

‘The Night is Darkest Before Dawn’

The Obamas’ struggle to achieve victory

A new book called Renegade recounts US President Barrack Obama’s unlikely run for the presidency. An article relating to this book in the Times of India newspaper (dated June 8, 2009) recounts a particularly tense period in the personal lives of the Obamas during the year 2000.

The Obamas’ marriage was supposedly on the brink of collapse because of Barrack’s political aspirations and First Lady Michelle’s experience as a first time mother.

This particular episode is long past. They are now known today, as the most romantic First Couple of America. Which now brings me to my question – is it necessary to dig up the past and exhibit information that has no relevance to the present? Is journalism about reporting relevant facts or has it become about providing shock value to the reader?

In my opinion, I think we should focus on the fact that amidst all the pressures in their life; they were able to rebuild their marriage. In life we all fall down, but the ones who succeed are the ones who pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep moving without looking back. This shows that Obama is tenacious and is capable of leading a broken down country – it shows that he is a man who achieves his missions. This is what the learnings need to be for the reader.

Let’s not get tangled by the volume of information that hits us day after day. Let us approach daily news not from the perspective of the journalist, who wants as many newspapers to sell, but as a reader who wants to learn from the lives of people; who have reached unimaginable levels in their lives through sheer persistence, focus and vision. This will help us to reach not only those levels but beyond those levels.