Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The 5 Winning Leadership Qualities of Arvind Kejriwal


1. Integrity

Of all the facets of leadership, integrity is the most important. Integrity goes beyond just being honest. Integrity is about being consistent, honest and trustworthy. Leaders with integrity are consistent in their words and action even during adversity. They maintain their authenticity and honesty across time and situations.

Arvind Kejriwal (AK) has consistently spoken and displayed the same core values over a period of years. Compare this with his rival for the chief minister’s position who is known to be very honest but has not displayed consistency in her stance on important issues like corruption.

Integrity builds trust because it provides an idea of a leader’s likely behaviour when an opportunity for selfish conduct presents itself.  Trust develops more at the subconscious level rather than as a series of careful thoughts. Intellectually you may not agree with AK but, instinctively you know that you can sleep peacefully if he says that he will be on watch.

2. Resilience

Resilience is the tenacity to carry on in the face of a setback despite the situation appearing hopeless. After facing a formidable blow, resilient leaders take speedy action, and not only do they bounce back quickly, they build the momentum to bounce forward.

After the Lok Sabha election, AK’s party was battered, ridiculed and morale was down. Many political commentators wrote them off. However, AK kept his focus, did not become defensive and took significant action to create a positive environment which rejuvenated the party cadre to carve out a memorable victory.

3. Judgment

One of the most important facets of leadership which remains esoteric is judgment about people and situations. It is said that with good judgment, little else matters and without good judgment, nothing else matters. The right judgment call in a crisis situation could result in glory and a wrong one could result in disaster. A leader also needs to make the right call about choosing people to depend upon to tide over challenging situations.  A leader with defined goals and a clear set of values, who spends effort in objectively understanding the environment usually gets the judgment calls right.

AK spent time understanding the political environment and defining the path which would lead his team to success in the assembly elections. He chose the candidates who would inspire confidence in the voters. When the opponents mounted their campaign, he had already studied their possible moves and his team was already prepared for it, forcing the rivals to change their strategy several times. Need it be mentioned that the judgment call for Kiran Bedi as chief minister candidate was quite wrong?

4. Communication

The leadership attribute which is essential to secure the benefits of the other leadership qualities is communication. Great leaders have the ability to communicate their ideas in a simple way which connects to a person’s emotions. They prefer to communicate the truth and their words are powered by the credibility they have generated.

Leaders who are great communicators are good listeners too and are able to sense the moods, dynamics and concerns of the people they are interacting with. They have the ability to change the presentation of their message according to the environment they are in.

AK and his team engaged the people of Delhi in a dialogue to outline the vision for their state. They exchanged ideas and discussed possibilities. Along with the apology for quitting without consulting the people, the message that he was going to stay for the complete term was conveyed by the simple slogan “Paanch saal Kejriwal” (Kejriwal for 5 years). Compare this approach with that of the rival parties who did not seem to be listening to the people and wanted them to consume whatever was being generated by the propaganda machinery. Isn’t it quite apparent now, whom the people chose to listen to?

5. Servanthood

There are leaders who want to serve first and then lead. They make sure that the priority needs of other people are served before their own; they share power and create the environment for people to perform optimally. These leaders are servant leaders. Such leaders believe that each person has value which can be enhanced, and they move ahead by putting others first.

"the king [leader] shall consider as good, not what pleases himself but what pleases his subjects [followers]" "the king [leader] is a paid servant and enjoys the resources of the state together with the people."
Chanakya, 4th century BCE

AK’s decision to enter politics was fueled by the desire to make things better for the people of the country (His opponents enjoyed calling him an “activist”). The manifesto drafted by AAP is a reflection of what the people want for themselves. It heralds the beginning of sharing power with the people in decision making. This is what AK calls Swaraj. The rival parties seemed to have already decided what was good for the people and apparently were more focused on the execution of these plans, in consonance with the authoritarian style of leading.

1 comment:

Noman Jamil said...
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