The Leadership Problem of India
December 22, 2012
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Recently I came across a question on Quora asking What does India do wrong after reading through some answers which mostly pointed to more statistical factors like poverty, education. Most of the answers were very concrete and factual as well. However, I have always felt that leadership at personal and organizational level is also very important to change anything.
This was the answer I had presented there and am just sharing with the readers of my blog.
What does India do wrong – Shubhanshu Mishra
LEADERSHIP – Self and Organizational
I have worked in other countries and never have I been encouraged and in-fact many times scolded for trying to break the rules. However in Indian system I have seen we learn from our elders that breaking rules in just the way of life. We are not encouraged to bring reforms but to just find ways to SOLVE our problems. This kind of leadership we experience in various forms:
- Childhood – Relatives and Parents are protective of us and encourage us to break rules so that things are easy for us. I was blessed in this regards as I was heavily punished in childhood for by my parents and grand parents if I trying so illegal methods. The “mera bachha hai” [they are my beloved kid] concept spoils the kids and makes them feel that since some of them are blessed with resources so its OK for them to break the rules. Every child looks to their elders for leadership and inspiration in their early life. By encouraging wrong ethics we are not doing our duties as good leaders.
- School – This is another important place of our life where we learn the most. A teacher and friend are the people who we look upto as leaders from front and by side. Again some friends encourage bad habits in their group saying its cool and good way to grow up. Some teachers also focus a lot on just getting marks and not on innovative ways of learning and problem solving. This kind of leadership spoils the way we look at the society around us where things have to be done so as to get good marks or to be cool not because we feel that way.
- College – Here again friends and seniors are the people we upto for leadership. Many students are misguided during college days because of their friends choose to help them in doing something illegal for fun rather than helping them do the right thing which is beneficial for all the people. Seniors are individuals we look upto the most for inspiration and but many times they show bad conduct or reward us on doing something unethical. This leadership influences us the most as we are prepared in college for the future phase of our lives and what we learn in college we go on to become. I once fired a junior of mine from my organization leadership body for his bad conduct and unethical actions of cheating. The result was all his friends started bad mouthing about me. This kind of leadership where we are more guided by the people and emotions than by our values hinders our ability to make the right decisions for the best of our organizations and hence for the nation.
- Job – Job is a place where we have to follow, support and lead. The difference this time is that we get paid for doing all the 3. This is where leadership values most and this is the place where leadership is abused the most. A work place is about becoming better by doing more. And if our leaders and friends support the opposite we start living like that. We see leadership becomes more about gaining badges of higher position than acts of reforms and positive changes. People who instill the most fear are looked as best leaders.
- Old Age – This is the age when the above cycle repeats for our own kids and whatever leadership styles we have seen and learnt we display an output of the same.
BTW, the above reasons are not just aimed at others who come into our lives but also at us based on the role we play in others life. Its not about pointing a finger at people but helping in finding a solution to the problems.
I feel the problems of India are many but the underlying basis of all of them is unethical and wrong leadership which we experience and incorporate in ourselves. Even though it looks tough to change the system from grass-root level. Its easier to target on good leadership building across all sectors of the society.
A leader’s job is not to gain more followers but to create more leaders who can continue the chain.