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One Of The Keys to Effective Leadership can be  – ‘Leading Like A Baby’

Today is the birthday of Swami Vivekananda, I thought of writing about one of my favorite lines by him. Though M.B.A and all these related stuff were not present and not at all structured in that era, still, if you read Swami Vivekananda’s works, his letters, and his thoughts – you will find we have probably moved backward. Not in terms of Management Jargons or Dress or Lifestyles. But, probably in terms of thought and implementation.

On 1st October 1897, Swami Vivekananda wrote a letter to Sister Nivedita from Kashmir. You can see the link here – http://www.vivekananda.net/KnownLetters/1897JulDec%27.html

I have selected the below few lines from the said letter.

“Some people do the best work when led. Not everyone is born to lead. The best leader, however, is one who “leads like the baby”. The baby, though apparently depending on everyone, is the king of the household. At least, to my thinking, that is the secret. . . .”

In fact, I came across these lines in 2006 and I was trying to match the same with my experiences of “Leaders and Leading” and I feel the inner meaning of these lines is a vast book on Leadership and Leadership competency model. Among all points that generally come to my mind when I go through these lines, I am putting forward four points, which, I feel can easily be understood and implemented.

  • You give priority to a baby at home: Whatever be the condition, every person gives priority to the baby at home. The baby never demands such priority openly but we all give that out of our own wish. Similarly, probably the effective leader can be the person who is given priority by others out of their own wish. It’s beyond following the decorum or so-called rules of boss management.
  • You feel Happy spending time with baby: Whatever situation you are into, whatever challenges you might be facing – whatever it be, you will always feel happy after spending time with a baby at home. In fact, in some cases, you will simply forget your challenges you are facing, or stress or any painful experiences when you are with a baby at home. Probably, an effective leader should be that person with whom every follower/ member stays happy. Leadership is not about scaring people, rather it’s about building people.
  • You feel satisfied serving the baby: I still remember several instances, where after a meeting or con-call, employees become demotivated. I have seen many employees working just for salary. I have seen lots of employees who cannot enjoy Sunday because of Monday again they have to be at work. In most of the cases, they overcome all those just to avoid any adverse effect on their financial life and lifestyle. An effective leader may be someone, serving whom can be one of the most satisfactory things for the employees/followers.
  • You can go to any extent to satisfy a baby: Just like we use all our resources and can go to any extent to satisfy the baby at home, an effective leadership can be present where people/ employees/followers can go to any extent to serve or achieve a common goal. This extra mile, this extra pain or this extra initiative may not be the demand of the leader. Rather, it might be coming from the other end automatically.

We might relate lots of competencies, lots of managerial science and lots of managing arts with these but in simple words, Effective Leadership is present where people are Motivated to Deliver, Happy to Stay with, Satisfied to Serve and Initiative to Implement and perform.

And this normally happens when the leaders serve to be served. One of the highest levels of leadership is considered as Servant Leadership. It’s applicable to any field, any industry and in every sphere where leaders are needed. It’s not about becoming servant but, it’s about serving others which in today’s era, we may say – Creating Values. Think of any effective leadership and you will find the essence of such effectiveness lies in serving others. You can start from Swami Vivekananda or Jesus Christ or Gautam Buddha who served people and created values and were the best leaders, or you can go through what value is created by the leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose or Mother Teresa, Or you can study the leadership of Steve Jobs or you can explore the top 50 leaders of 2017 – whatever it be, you will find one thing in common and that’s creating values and serving to be served. And needless to say, they can Lead people like a Baby.