No there is no mistake in the title, the topic is about matters related to or about leadership. Sure enough this is a blog, so staying within the limitations of the same, join me as we explore the fundamental facets about matters of leadership. No matter which way you look at it, there are always three basic requirements that, anything to do with leadership has to qualify, first there has to be the audience- these can be either the followers or the leaders in the making, next there has to be a contextual setting- a social space available withing the settings of a given society to allow leadership to breathe and live and finally we need to have the leader, you may be wondering, shouldn’t the sequence be the other way around- like, Leaders first then the society and than the audience- well it never is that way and that’s where many people go wrong in understanding what the essence of true leadership is all about, by the time we finish this piece, possibly I would have made my point clear! So let’s explore!
The Audience- The audience is a critical segment to leadership. Eventually leaders arise from the audience (most of the times) unless they are handpicked and forced upon the masses to accept! Whether the audience has the ability to develop followership or has the latent ability to cultivate and create more leaders in the times ahead- depends on who the current leader is and if the current leader has come from the very same audience, then how interlinked and impactful is the association between the leader and the audience. The settings could be anything, it could be a political outfit, a group working towards a cause or it could also be your typical office settings- end of the day- this dynamic equilibrium and the relationship between the audience and the current leader goes a long way to shape the collective future of all those who are a part of this connect.
The Contextual settings- the social fabric. This perhaps is the most important part among the the three elements that go on to make the whole ecosystem driven by leadership to work. Society in general and the contextual settings is nothing more or less than the aggregated truths of individuals in the society (not the average) , it is the truth that holds it‘s ground for every member and when multiple people have multiple truths- you end up getting a net truth that holds good across the board- you may want to ask why not call it average- because average implies that it’s the sum total factored against the number, but this is not the sum total of contextual truths, these are the contextual truths and the only thing that can be perhaps aggregated in the sense of aggregation is the vector of the direction in which these collective truths wish to move! Forward or regress and that choice is empowered by the address who often arises form the same contractual setting and when the leaders is placed from outside into a preexisting dynamic ecosystem, the leader has almost always very limited time to understand and apply what truth and prudence the leader has been able to comprehend and as long as this comprehension aligns with the society, the leader is accepted and accommodated, if the views seem to be foreign, in not time the leader will be ejected! Such is the power of the aggregate truths of a society and the collective truths that a society sees. These aspects go on to impact the aspirational value and direction that the society looks to take ahead and this is where the next bit- The Leadership and its attributes come into play!
Leaders and Leadership- They are the final, though not as important as the other pieces to the trinity of leadership, let me explain. Say you have a person gifted and checked on all personal, intellectual attributes of leadership and seems to the greatest personification of communication finesse, oratory, ideation and vibrance. Well all of that will go to waste if there is no audience and there is no contextual settings in the parlance of a social motive around those attributes! You see, leadership doesn’t and simply can’t operate in vacuum! Leaders and Leadership need and thrive of developing that vital connect with their audiences in the contextual settings that prevail, so that either the leader or the members of the audience are able to influence, impact and create some new value propositions to their present existence so that a path to collective progress and direction opens up! This is where the real essence of leadership lies- about creating, sustaining and developing vital connect with the audience and leveraging that to the aspired progress of the society.
Sure enough, how the audience responds to a leader is a very dynamic process and that equilibrium decides the pace at which the society advances or regresses. When leaders create more followers than more leaders, the society is always taking two steps forward and one step backward- simply because the whole pivot if that societies tomorrow hinges on a single person and should there be some not so welcome development with that individual, the whole social fabric comes falling apart like a pack of cards! Knowing this fundamental fact (alongside the other technical ones) you will find large organisations and corporations and people who matter ], always have a succession plan by them- that plan is precisely meant to uphold societies should there be a glitch in the leadership delivery and as that manifests you have the next able people stepping in and ensuring that the continuity, direction and momentum of the social progress is maintained even against strong odds! This magic also happens beyond the corporate walls and when that manifests, you are really witnessing leadership that is in action to create more leaders and add value, progress and clarity of direction and purpose as a given on an ongoing basis!
You may want to ask, if this is what it is, than why does it get complicated? Well, this is what the principle is and sure enough this is what the broader aspect of leadership is, but what I have not got in here is the range and depth of human emotions and thought process- these parameters are very potent and have the power and ability to fail even the greatest leaders once the followers or the social ethos begins to feel something else even as their thinking may be aligned! You see, when leaders fail to connect through their hearts and allow only the minds to connect- they set themselves up ultimately for their own downfall. The society then has to ask only one question- are they going down with that leader or rather would they dump that leader and connect and engage with another one- who possibly has the ability to keep the heart first and allow the mind to follow later! This is also the folklore of the corporate world of leadership disasters! Organisations often end up hiring leader to drive and deliver on a task (the mind part) without noticing how that is going to impact the personal connect for a team or among teams (the heart part), the result, either objectives are met and people leave or objectives aren’t met and people leave- what stays common is people will leave if the leader does not share the heart before the minds are sought! So what’s the great plan to ensure leadership thrives, the audience thrives and the contextual settings are also kept safe?
Deceptively simple and effective,Leaders arrive as the time comes. Leaders do not seek permissions, neither do they take approvals, when they see what is unfolding they will act and when they do act, one important thing that they ensure is that they act by remaining transparent and share one strong message- all goes well credit is yours’ and if we hit the wall- It’s me! As leaders emerge with this mindset to take charge and create narratives that help and provide more to the social settings around them- they influence, inspire and soon enough start to lead in the essence of the word “to lead” and as they do, based on what is that they lead (a nation, a social group or an office team) they either create followers or leaders). As long as leaders do all of this by being connected with the audiences through their hearts and minds- communication, language, clarity everything gets aligned and the social fabric gets stronger and more robust and leading too becomes simple and effective, something very similar to leading an attack platoon- there is clarity of objective, communication and purpose.
What is that you should choose to be? A Leader or an Audience? Well actually both, no matter who you are, where you are and what you do or don’t, at any given time in your life you are wearing the hat of a leader for some aspect of your life and for other aspects you are the audience (even as you may want to lead!). A a parent, you are the first leader that your kids have and no matter how badly you want to lead your nation (given the circus you witness everyday), the chances are you may be perhaps nothing more than a disconnected and un-engaged audience- with some feeble engagement only if you are still courageous enough to make your voice heard- knowing nothing will change!
This is all folks, for now on leadership matters’. The truth is each one of us is leader, the depth, width and span of that reflects how much of acceptance and accommodation we have earned as individuals within the people that move around and how much of ear we have to the ground to know what really matters and amplify that so that our audiences are able to look upto us and create more leaders than followers, because the true essence of leadership is creating more leaders! Always!
I leave you here for now, take some time to reflect on what kind of a leader you have been, what kind of an audience you have been and perhaps its also time to know if the contextual settings are still what they weer or whether its time to change all or few of these variables to ensure your journey as an empowered individuals is racing ahead in the directions that you have always aspired for!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another thought initiator! Until than lead- if not anything or anyone- start by leading yourself!