By Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar | Posted: March 05, 2019
Leading people is a challenging job. Great leaders have qualities that attract people to them. However, the effectiveness of leadership depends not only on the abilities of the leader, but also on the kind of people that surround him or her.
Leaders have to typically deal with four types of people.
1. The first type is the sycophant or the ‘yes man’, who only flatters and agrees with the leader all the time. These people are not always truthful. They say only what they think the leader would like to hear and what suits their own agendas. Surrounding oneself with such feel-good people has its own perils. It is important to safeguard oneself from giving such people an unhealthy degree of power and influence.
2. The second type is those who continuously question the actions and intentions of their leader. If leaders are caught up in defending themselves or pleasing all kinds of people, they will not be able to function effectively.
3. The third type acts submissive and listens to their leader with an eye on extracting favors at a later stage. Such people could use emotional blackmail and make the leader feel obligated and trapped. It is important for leaders to be able to stay detached, think clearly and steer clear of emotional manipulations.
4. The fourth type comprises those who are afraid to voice their ideas and opinions. They lack the openness and the courage to point out genuine issues and give feedback when required. This means that the leader will become aware of a problem only when it has escalated into a crisis.
The Open Sesame Advantage
Effective leaders need a team which not only stands by them and acts as a solid support system, but also has the openness to communicate and give feedback on critical issues.
This leadership dilemma pervades all spheres of personal and professional lives. While it is not necessary to give explanations to everyone for every action, leaders must not become deaf and blind to the reality around them.
Often, powerful leaders tend to shut out the opinions of others or lead through fear. They may come across as ruthless, arrogant people carried away by their own ego and short-sightedness. They end up wasting time battling emergencies which could have been averted if they had given space to their team to express ideas and opinions.
No Please-All Magic
On the other hand, leaders who are too sensitive and prone to explaining their actions and decisions end up being perceived as weak and are unable to do justice to the responsibilities entrusted to them. If leaders try too hard to please everyone, they are likely to lose their independence and ability to take the right decision. The groups a leader represents are not homogeneous and one cannot satisfy everybody. Being oversensitive with undue focus on making people happy or fulfilling all their wishes is not practical, since often people have short-sighted needs.
The independence to take decisions on the basis of what the leader feels is right is very crucial for anyone to reach their true leadership potential.
Invest in The Balance
Great leaders walk the middle path. They are decisive and firm and don’t worry too much about justifying to people around them. At the same time, they are in touch with the prevailing reality, listen to their team and remain flexible enough to change their opinion and decisions. They are aware of the needs of their followers and attend to them without getting worn out.
This balance can come only when one is free of stress and has a centered and equanimous mind. Yoga, meditation and spiritual wisdom ensures this and are a lifejacket for a leader.
As much as leaders shape followers, followers too shape leadership outcomes. A leader and their team must invest some time every day improving the quality of their minds. This ensures a fair, stress-free environment where people thrive and goals are met creatively and efficiently.
Reposted from LinkedIn