Leadership suffers inadequacy of reliable theories. The existing leadership theories, as many may argue, do not lead to an accurate leadership practice. Normally, a theory should serve as a roadmap to guide our actions and adapt new challenges. Theory is a paper work, while practice is a practical walk. In leadership there is a famous saying, “think the talk, talk the talk and walk the talk.” Metaphorically, this saying may help us how to materialize a thought into a practice.
Certainly, a reliable theory can pass a test of time and uncertainties. However, if we look back in history, we may learn that leadership theories are impractical. There might be a number of reasons for that, but one reason could be lack of a definite understanding about the essence of leadership. I once asked a government official, “What is the essence of leadership?” “Leadership is nothing, but a means to fulfill a national interest,” he replied. If all political leaders are like him, then there will be no hope for humanity to flourish. The essence of leadership has lost somewhere and subjected into petty national interests. Nowadays, nations spend a chunk of time and money to amend historical mistakes than future development. When the past outweighs the future, leadership misses its essential meaning.
Some leadership authors gallop freely and come up with whatever their mind dictates them. Leadership is not a game of mind, or a game that begins with a thought and ends with a word. It is not a belief, either. It is the most practical field and far beyond religious, political or ideological concepts. Unfortunately, our current leadership practices are entangled religiously, politically and ideologically.
Leadership is an action. Most leaders, however, are not writers and researchers. They read and apply whatsoever books are available in the market place. They may learn from consequences as in the case of wars, financial deficit and social chaos, but true leaders learn before running into an action. In fact, as many say, history repeats itself. What has been done a century ago, repeats itself in the modern era. This implies that history has a little lesson to teach us unless we learn how to discover our leadership talent and put it into a service.
Leadership in two words simplifies problems and ambiguities. It is true that leadership has been defined differently by different authors. There are a number of verbs, nouns and adjectives that directly or indirectly explain the essence of leadership. For instance, John Maxwell, the author of many leadership books, highlights a number of leadership qualities. I have read some of his books, but I could not figure out his profound philosophy. In some cases, he addressed leadership as a combination of indefinite personal and interpersonal skills. Nonetheless, personal and interpersonal skills are bizarre with situations. They cannot last long. Leadership skills may differ from time to time, but the core idea, which is the nucleus, cannot be altered under any circumstance.
Leadership is not a word, but a two action words: discovery and service. Discovery and service are action words that a student of leadership should wonder about before jumping to act as a leader. Discovery is the greatest leadership adventure towards the truest and limitless nature of your inherent leader. It is a personal journey within oneself to explore and understand what lies within. It might take a number of years, and thus commitment and unwavering patience and confidence are indispensable, whereas service is byproduct of successful potential discovery. When the leader within you exploded, service comes quite naturally. Service is like a reaped fruit which is available to the world irrespective of race, religion, nationality or ideology.
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