He creates leaders, not followers. An important mark of good leadership is letting go of control. Are you in control when you are sleeping or when you are dreaming? Can you control any other function in your body? Your heart pumps oxygen on its own. Are you in control of your thoughts? You are not.
So, when you realize you really do not have any hold over all the critical aspects of your life, then you learn that the idea that you are in control is an illusion. And knowing this will relax you.
A leader leads by example. He does not just issue orders. He teaches others how to do things by first doing them himself. A good leader creates leaders, not followers. He takes good care of those whom he is leading. He delegates responsibility.
Does not worry about position:
A good leader is well aware that the respect that he gains through virtue is very different from the respect he gains through the position he enjoys.
He knows that the respect the position brings is short-lived and temporary. Being a chairman of a committee or a president of another, being a governor or a barrister – these are all momentary experiences. Positions come and go. But the respect that he gets for being a nice person, for his virtues and attitude, is genuine. It lasts long.
A good leader is motivated when there are challenges to meet. He is alert in times of crisis. He is not disturbed; rather he sees challenges as opportunities.
Balances head and heart:
A successful leader maintains a balance by listening to the head as well as the heart. When he needs to commit himself to his work, he listens to his head. In other areas of his life, he listens to his heart.
An effective leader is able to put himself in others’ shoes and see things from their point of view. He is a good communicator.
Does not care for comfort:
Anything creative and dynamic can happen only when you stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. You are often stuck here. You may think that you cannot do something. But if you make an effort and take that first step ahead, then you will find that you are not bound by your comfort zone. A good leader knows this.
Has long-term vision:
A true leader has a long-term vision and the short term plan to work on it. He is prepared to put the organization, the country, before his own needs. That sense of sacrifice is needed.
A good leader is satyadarshi (truthful), samdarshi (equanimous), priyadarshi (pleasant personality), pardarshi (transparent) and doordarshi (farsighted). He has a mission and a vision and a spirit of sacrifice, compassion and commitment.
Does not let his position make him arrogant:
A good leader does not exhibit that he is a leader. He becomes one among everybody. He does not think he is better than everybody else. He just sees himself as part of the group. A sense of belongingness makes him interact with the ones he leads. Developing good human relationship skills is a necessary quality in a successful leader.
— The writer is the founder of Art of Living Foundation and can be reached at www.artofliving.org