Leadership is an abstract idea that accommodates many descriptions
Leadership is an abstract idea that accommodates many descriptions which all seek to harmonize the meaning and definitions that are associated with someone being a leader. In the social sphere, it can be regarded as the way in which some certain individual with desired characteristics like social responsibility take up the helms or control in social domains.
This control is aimed at filling a vacuum that exists for the coordination of activities and the making of some crucial decisions for the well being of all. All this is aimed at accomplishment of certain personal or national goals.
Mahatma Gandhi is someone who can be regarded as a leader by what he did for his country and the great feats that he achieved during his lifetime. He was born in India (1869- 1948) from not such an influential background but due to his dedication and devotion to his idealism in life, he arose through the ranks to become a national leader that was revered by all people.
His political ambition was rekindled after he moved to Africa (South Africa) as an attorney and he saw the rampant abuse of human rights by the Transvaal’s discriminatory government which took him into the limelight as being a tenacious crusader of human rights.
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His fights and campaigns did not end there in South Africa but the ambition was developed onto a calling which later was culminated into his character. This was an instrumental step that led to development of his system of non violent defiance so as to achieve a common good for all. This worked for him when he returned to his mother country and led his country to independence from the British imperial masters (Fischer 23).
Leadership is a venture that can be quite demanding and several traits are required of those that can merit the title of being a leader. On the forefront is sacrifice and a legacy of self denial always putting the interests of others (your subjects) before your own personal ambitions.
This should be something that is inbuilt because learning it is a hard task that is almost impossible. It does not mean that you throw away your ambition in life and form new ones but rather it dictates that you integrate your ambition with greater ideologies that are expanded to cater for national interests.
Synchronization of your interest in life with those of others in life will work best and this will be a key in avoiding conflict. Selflessness is one of the traits that are exhibited by Gandhi. He never took life as complicated but he denied himself luxuries and the good tidings that come with being a nationalistic leader. He led a simple ascetic life that served to make him more appealing to all people both poor and rich or mighty (Fischer 67).
Leadership comes with an arduous task of dealing with all kinds of people from different walks of life. This calls for a sober mind and an all inclusive approach to life. All this is controlled by humility which is a requirement of a leader and not a necessity. Humility can guarantee you access and audience with all regardless of their social class.
By being a humble person means that you will go out of your way to serve others and not wait to be served. Often most people associate leadership with being a boss over other people but it should be the other way round. In serving others, your leadership skills are enhanced and you get a one on one experience such that many people will regard you high as opposed to serving others and you one person, you will regard others high.
This is one trait that made Mahatma Gandhi to stand out from the crowds. He was always out there serving others and more so the poor and those who are regarded as low in the Indian caste system. He even left his own caste and went down to lower caste (that was for predominantly poor) and tried to raise its social status and put it at par with other social castes. This made him a champion of fighting for rights of the poor and the minority.
Approach to leadership should be broad minded and not narrow. It has for a long time been taken that advancing racial, ethnic or even tribal can warrant you to be called a leader.
This is the wrong approach to leadership since if you consider a country like US for instance, there are many people coming from different races, and different social backgrounds, their religious believes and faith are also divergent thereby for one to be a leader of such a community or nation, he or she must be nationalistic and not racial or regional in the way to approach issues that are affecting the country. In his lifetime, Gandhi was always striving for peace, harmony and good co existence regardless of ones religious inclinations or beliefs (Fischer 56).
It is said that he studied all the major religions of the world (Christianity, Islam and Hinduism) in his quest for searching for truth which would promote national cohesion.
When I was in high school, I was very much involved in sports and extra curricula activities. Actually, when I joined college it was on scholarship emanating from my athletic abilities. I indulged mostly in basketball where I played in the position of a forward. In a basketball game (in all sport for that matter) the ultimate goal is to win trophies and be the best in the sport.
For a team to achieve this, all personal ambitions have to be shed for the benefit of the team. All the team members are gifted with different skills and individual talent in most cases can not win games but it is the combined efforts of the team members that win games and trophies.
By the mere fact that you made the shortlist, was an indication enough that you were talented and capable of success. I was a forward and was selected as the team captain not that I was the best in the team but I had some characters that fitted a leader.
It is often said that it is the people who designate you a leader and not you that designate yourself, therefore the coach had confidence that I could deliver as a captain and help my team win trophies. The best chance that arose for me to exhibit my leadership prowess was during one time in the conference finals where it was do or die to clinch the title.
The game started well and proceeded on till the last dying moments when there were five minutes on the buzzer and we were trailing our opponents by five points. In basketball any body can score but that job is better left to the forwards because of their enhanced speed and accuracy.
I was good at shooting but there was this guy who was a guard but he was not a regular in the first team. His advantage was that he was very good when it came to three pointers. Someone had to be axed so that this guy could be given a chance to even the scores and win the game for us.
In the last time off, I convinced the coach to give that guy my chance so that he could use his prowess in shooting three pointers. The coach at first objected since I was the captain but later had to cave in and that is how we won the trophy because the guy did his thing and we emerged victorious in the end.
Fischer, L. The essential Gandhi An Anthology. Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1963.