Traits of a successful leader

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Traits of a successful leader

Tuesday, 19 September 2023 | Ravi Valluri

Traits of a successful leader

A successful leader must be highly motivated and a team worker

Once perched on a hilltop was a consummate tea maker. His virtuosity in the craft was unparalleled. Serpentine queues of curious onlookers, expectant youngsters seeking to become apprentices and tea lovers desirous of savouring the elixir of life called tea were a commonplace sight outside his dwelling. 

One day a querulous Samurai happened to singe his tongue while sipping the Master’s tea. Piqued and incensed, he challenged the master to a duel.

“I am an ignoramus in strategy and warfare. My entire life has been spent perfecting the art of making tea,” exclaimed the tea maker. He took a momentous decision to pass on his legacy and the reins of the establishment to his favourite student. Giving him his sword, he asked the greenhorn to face the challenger by raising the weapon in the same manner that he raised the teapot.

Accepting the advice, the mentee raised the sword without a glitch, undeviating. The combatant was awe-struck seeing the acolyte wield the sword with remarkable countenance.

The story reveals how mastery of one craft is of greater significance than attempting to master multiple skills just to appear more formidable. Certainly, an individual can multitask but only after becoming proficient in one’s craft.

Core competency matters

As a marketing strategy, corporations like the Tatas and the Reliance group have cannonaded the electronic and print media with their products. The focus on their core competency never wavers, even as they diversify into different product lines.

Phenomenal all-rounder cricketers like Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Garry Sobers, the talismanic Chappell brothers, and Shaun Pollock among others have embellished the game of cricket with their splendid stellar performances.

Albert Einstein, one of the two pillars of modern physics is better known for his scientific contributions rather than his ability to play the piano, even though he was more than an amateur in the latter craft.

Upgrading and enriching skills

The unrevealed secret of any triumphant leadership is to burnish particular expertise and then make forays into unchartered territories. Psychologists have zeroed in on certain compelling traits that separate celebratory individuals and organizations from the pedestrian.

These are intellectual and personal skills and enhancing creativity to deliver in such a manner as to be the cynosure on the world stage.

Intellectual and personal skills

Primary among these skills is the ability to establish a connection, to empathize. The finesse and aptness to lionize interest in other cultures, experiences, values, points of view, goals and desires provide the cutting edge.

Exceptional leaders have the uncanny skill of disentangling and decoding the most complex and vexed problems. This is often the defining moment in their lives and careers. The momentous decision of Dhoni to tweak the batting order against the Lions of the Emerald Island piloted India to victory in the 2014 World Cup final. The iconoclastic Steve Jobs was expelled from Apple, the company he co-founded, yet he went on to establish Pixar which dramatically altered the contours of the animation industry.

Communication: A two-way process

Personality attributes defined by an attitude of glasnost and perestroika are centrifugal characteristics of achievers. They wade through the swathes of covenants, conventions and doctrines to discover perceptible solutions. Intrepid and mettlesome individuals or organizations have the quintessential ability to communicate ideas, feelings and emotions both formally and informally. This ability makes them successful leaders.

(The writer is the CEO of Chhattisgarh East Railway Ltd and East-West Railway Ltd. He is a faculty of the Art of Living)

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