Individual Reflection Assignment I Everyone leads, in their own limited spheres of influence. But a great leader is one who can influence the lives of many and leave a lasting impression. As Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. ” It is not just about dictating and delegating but about inspiring and guiding.
From leaders who have influenced and enriched millions of lives by being a representative of the people and being responsible in part for bringing about the birth of a new era by unfurling the flag of independence, to leaders in their own work fields who have shone and made people sit up and take notice. Over the year these have ranged from Mahatma Gandhi, to Muhammad Yunus, to Bill Gates to Steve Jobs, who have not only affected the lives of a few people around them but extended their sway over billions of people across the globe.
In my eyes an ideal leader has to be a blend of certain qualities. Charisma, to inspire people to aspire to great heights that they had never thought they could scale. Independence and willfulness, to be able to make their own decisions, without being lead astray. Diligence to carry out the work started to the best of their ability, to strive to improve enough to surpass even themselves. Without perseverance and the willingness to work hard one cannot be a leader.
Because an effective leader cannot sit by the sidelines merely shouting instructions, but must exert himself as much as any of his followers, if not much more. But lastly, excellence in their field of work is the most important. Without this raw talent and vision one cannot be a leader. “Where there is no vision, the people perish. ” The aptitude and skill once polished with self-awareness, self-regulation and the other qualities enumerated above is what makes an ideal leader in my eyes.
The kind of leader I would like to be. Many people have inspired me in the last 21 years, starting with my parents and sister, to a host of public figures. But two of them I still consider role models are Mother Teresa and Bill Gates. Kolkata, India being my hometown, I have seen Mother Teresa and her work very closely. The zeal with which she endlessly tried to help the underprivileged, sick and helpless amazed me for as long as I can remember. Her empathy and unquenchable thirst to help those who needed it was astonishing.
So much so that she not only transformed the lives of the people she helped but also her followers whom she taught to dream big and believe that they could achieve much more than they gave themselves credit for. Her selfless faith and dedication won over many hearts and accolades. Even after she passed away thousands across the world carried on what she started. As John Quincy Adams rightly put it, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. ” It is her tireless empathy and dedication that attract me to her.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft Corporation, on the other hand started out as a Harvard dropout with only a small software company that he co-founded to his name. His belief and faith in the huge growth potential of the personal computer market is what lead him to enter this industry, which the giants in the industry then had not given much importance to. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ” This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us to push into new areas and take people to unchartered territories.
Bill Gates did just that. Using his industry contemporaries’ derision towards personal computers as a stepping stone within a few years he had made Microsoft a household name and amassed a huge fortune. His vision coupled with perseverance and dedication is what makes him a great leader and an inspiration in my eyes. As he himself said, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. ” His commitment to his belief, even it meant immense risks is what has always differentiated him in my eyes.