5 Traits of a Leader – Series 1

Transcript of the last QnA session of Day 1 on “Nurturing Leadership” at Mumbai ( April 2016)

Q- How to identify a true master ? What skills would he have, and will those skills be basic for leadership as well?

Well, we could list numerous qualities of a true master. However let me highlight 5 most important attributes a true master would shower upon you.

First – Respecting others.

This is one of the foundational pillars in the making of a master. Yes it holds true for a leader too. Perhaps such a leader has got a complete glimpse of a great wisdom, that every living organism on this planet is tremendously unique and is a creation of the same universal energy that created you and me. So he decides to drop the intelligence based classifications of everything. He looks at every individual as a potentially pure soul. He has chosen to drop the ego of human defined hierarchies and offers the highest levels of respect to every energy who brushes his auras of energy.

Second – Responsibility.

This you may have to listen a little carefully.

Now this is one thing that distinguishes the east from the west. And remember that both schools of thoughts have existed in the past and will exist in the future as well, but they are almost 180 degrees opposite. The east is mind centric, the west remained material centric. The eastern philosophy is to dive deep; the western is to float around superficially, just on the surface. The eastern master takes responsibility of everything that happens to him. If his disciple behaves ruthlessly, the master consciously accepts the fact that somewhere he has not been able to tune his disciple. Something has gone wrong in his giving. That is why eastern masters have been very cautious in life, extremely choosy about their words. He is responsible for his words. Every thought he produces, every word he utters, every action he displays, they have implications on his disciples, and he is aware of it. His intention is not to churn superficial fragile individuals but to deliver poised and balanced citizens for the society. He teaches his disciples, but his teachings are supremely filtered with hard to digest real life situations.

You might have heard about the western ideas of walking over glass and fire etc to get rid of fear. They say that once a person walks over the broken pieces of glasses or walks over burning coal and comes out of it unhurt, it frees the human mind of withholding fears and we open up to other possibilities. One gentleman also says that glass walking is for average performing individuals to perform at peaks. Now by doing all this which fear are you eliminating? Fear of failure or fear of heights or fear of closed spaces or which fear? The facilitator perhaps has blindly bought this idea from some other juvenile motivator and the chain continues. Yes, it does appeal to the modern metro-mentality for a moment. Infact the Heads of large organizations too ask me, sir do you conduct glass walking? Fire walking ? But when I ask them – why? Why do you want to conduct them? They remain clueless. Why do you want your employees to walk on a bed of glasses? Is life all about walking on glass pieces? If it’s a matter of some adventure activity, then yes, it looks good. Else it simply remains as an appeal to the ordinary mind. Leaders don’t follow mass appeals; they intensely reflect over their choices, take risks and takes responsibility of their decisions too.

The employees may scream out. Wow ! I can do it, I have done it. It does rush an adrenaline to the physical body for sure and hence all this hype. Suddenly the so called motivational speaker gives the participants a feeling that till date the fear you have been carrying has been permanently offloaded. All these years you lived a foolish life, today you have realized your true potential.

Eureka Moments !! I can walk over glass, I can walk over fire.

Now thanks to the quick blow-out effect of the rush that happens in you from all such motivational sessions. What if an individual innocently accepts these facts and tries these stunts in his real life? I am 100% sure that the guy will need immediate medical attention. The glass that he walked over, the fire that he walked over is a fake one. The glass had blunt edges, the facilitator has crafted them carefully for you; the colour of fire that you see is of poor heat conducting coals covered with ash. These poor heat conducting coals do not conduct the heat through the thick foot skin in a fraction of a second. It takes a while for the heat to conduct. It is no magic, it’s pure physics- nothing else.

However by faking such unrealistic activities to uncover the human limitations, my limited knowledge says – it can be disastrous. What if this same guy tries to remove the fear of his child at home and breaks glasses and asks him to walk over it? Infact all these facilitators should hand over a disclaimer cum warning to the participants that such kind of stunts should not be tried at home or office. It’s Ok if you have learned it from someone, but it’s important to sit back and reflect over your learning’s. It’s OK that someone taught me something, but if I teach this further – I am responsible for continuing the chain. That’s what a master is aware of, a conscious awareness of every move. Someone taught you how to sleep strategically over a bed of nails, you know the trick, but using this trick to convince people of a cure to cancer is purely an irresponsible act. Well you can make an awful lot of money by exploiting the vulnerability of others like this, but that’s purely an unprincipled way of living.

The eastern master teaches his disciples with the real world examples, no fake games. He would never, in any way succumb to such fraudulent methods just for the sake of few pennies. Perhaps this is the only reason why Buddha’s favourite disciple Ananda remained unenlightened until Buddha’s death. Buddha could have easily told Ananda that you look enlightened now, you have been with me for so many years, now nothing more is needed, just this declaration was remaining and I hereby declare it. Not really! Perhaps Buddha was truly aware of the contraindications of his words. Ananda remained an ordinary monk throughout.

Such materialistic transactions excite the western mind for sure. Have you seen the number of NLP practitioners in India? Trust me, a day will soon come when 1 in 3 Indians will be a NLP certified master practitioner. They are selling it like pop up pills of a medical store. Anybody who attends a session is certified a practitioner. Now this appeals to the ordinary mind. The seller is happy for the money he gets, the buyer is happy for the worthless certification he gets. Once I asked a NLP participant as to why are you doing this course? Pat came her reply, to add value to my profile. At the end of the session she did hand over her profile to me with this modified certification and believe me the profile too many such values. Now this is not her mistake too. The metro-mind is driven by such values in the profile. The human resource leaders are also aping. More the certifications, more the perceived value. One leader, once in a while stands up and says, I’m not going to go through the profiles, I would be more interested in a live interaction with the facilitator.

NLP is no doubt a classic tool to remodel the human mind, but the person can misuse this skill too. It has to be practised with utmost care. It can be used for unlawful activities too. How can you certify anybody and everybody inordinately? The master should handover it with great care. This is perhaps why in the Indian culture, the guru would never formally offer completion of education based on the period of a pupils education. The disciple waits for a time when the master offers him completion. A wait that is worth a wait. The True leader takes responsibility of everything. If his disciple or follower fails, he accepts the responsibility that something went wrong; more is needed in the giving. And if he succeeds, so does he update himself.

Third… Compassion

…………………..to be continued

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About Mentora India

Mentora India is a leading Corporate Training Company providing comprehensive training solutions and transformation programs across a wide spectrum of business, industries and Educational Establishments. Mentora India specializes in training in the areas of : Self Development, Public Speaking, Leadership Development, Stress Management, Relationship Management, Customer Service, Communication Skills, Presentation Skills, Time Management, Negotiation Skills, Interpersonal Skills, Managing People etc. with the lead trainer being Mr. Mathew Thomas.
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