A good leader is not a product grown in fields or on trees. He/She is born to be a leader. There are quite a number of qualities that are essential for being a good leader, and I daresay that, those qualities cannot be imbibed in persons by training or teaching, they are inherent or inborn in a person. So I’d say that leaders cannot be made, they are born or are produced since birth. Now, the next question that arises is what are the qualities that are essential for becoming a leader? Can these qualities be taught or given by training? So we concentrate on discussions as to what the qualities of good leaders ought to be.
A good leader is a person who an lead the people in the name of an obviously good cause. For attracting a following a leader has to, himself be deeply involved in the cause only then he will get a following. We Indians have a glaring example of such a leader, in Mahatma Gandhi. He was determined to be non-violent and with certainty believed in the tenets of non-violence. He showed loyalty to the cause, faced at the trials that barred his way, so, he got his due return in the great following he mustered. Had he just spoken from high pulpits about non-violence but did not follow the tenets of his own preaching of non-violence, I am sure he would not have achieved the goal he did. Only when people see the leader do what he says or preaches, they do have a mind to follow him. This is an essential quality a leader of any stature must possess.
A leader must always be genuine in his targets to be achieved. The targets he talks about must be practical and he must be seen to be working genuinely towards the goals set, only then the leader will get a following. For there also we can look up to the leadership of the Mahatma. Had he not been genuine in his efforts, his following would have receded.
Another very important quality of a good leader is that, he must identify himself with the followers. He should not sit on a high pedestal, and from there keep ordering about. He must mix with his brood and work hand in hand with them. He must be able to step into their shoes and try feel and understand their problems and difficulties, and if possible try to solve their problems. He must make it a point to be one of them and one with them only then they will reach out to be the leader. The Mahatma remained one with the masses, he partook of the minimum of food and clothing typical of the common man of the India, and that was the secret of the huge following.
Now, these few qualities are absolutely necessary for a budding of a good leader. Now, let us think if we can really imbibe these qualities in men/women? I daresay a firm NO – NOT AT ALL. These qualities are within an individual and cannot be taught by any amount of education and training, they can be copied but not imbibed. A copy as we can well imagine can never be the same as the original. However, today we find a number of leadership courses being organized in schools and colleges etc. Yes, they may be able to teach the children that, qualities are essential for leadership but, it would be an exercise in futility if we expect that such programmes would generate the mushroom growth of good leaders.
Regarding the growth of leaders I think I can say that, India excels in producing leaders. It appears that they are grown here on tree tops and can be broken for consumption raw or pipe whenever required. It is such leadership in India which is creating the havoc we see everywhere in our country. I vouchsafe that, it is not everybody’s cup of tea to become a leader.
In the final analysis, I feel that leaders are born, this is because the qualities mentioned above cannot be inculcated in individuals – they are within an individual since birth. Leaders cannot be made, and, if we do make them, as we do so in India, we can see what happens. This is because they are not genuine leaders, wedded to their causes. They are not original leaders, made to lead, they are just duplicates created to steer a ship and most probably make it sink. It is this lack of good leaders account for the overall deterioration in India for, a good leader in reality is a difficult item to find. It is God who makes leaders, and it is not man, who can train men to become leaders. This is amply proved by the fact of children like born to do great tasks and to be leaders in their own rights. Such men are real leaders and I am certain that they cannot be coined by any human efforts. The leadership qualities are inborn in them, and are visible in them from their very childhood.