If one has to become a leader, he has to transform himself into a larger possibility. What was essentially individual concern becomes a little larger concern in some sense. What is being looked forward to from a leader is that he should be able to see things that other people are not able to see. He need not be a super human being. He need not know everything. Most leaders do not know much, but they are able to see certain things that other people are missing and they are able to put people together for a certain common purpose. That makes them leaders.
Who you are – what your mind is, what your emotions are and how you are right now – will manifest in every action that you perform in the world. And once you are in the position of leadership, every thought and emotion that you generate, and every action that you perform has an impact on many people - maybe a few hundred people or a thousand people or millions of people, depending on what type of leadership you are in. When this is so, it is extremely important that one who wishes to be a leader, in some way, focuses upon how he is within himself too, not just about how he performs in the world.
Transforming Yourself First
And once you have moved to a position of responsibility that is having a huge impact on many lives, it would be irresponsible for a leader not to be constantly striving to transform himself first. Essentially leadership also means, either you are transforming people’s lives directly, or you are transforming situations which will in turn lead to transformation of life for other people. So transformation and leadership cannot be separated.
Our Common Aspiration
Whether you are leading a company, or a community, or a city or a country, leadership is the art of making people realize that somewhere, deep down, all our aspirations are the same.
The first time I was at the World Economic Forum, people looked at me very resentfully. They said, “What is a mystic doing at an economic conference?” I thought I should speak their own language, so I asked, “What do you do? What is your business?” This person said, “Well, I am working for the second largest computer manufacturer.” I said, “You are doing computers…” I pointed out someone who was in the automobile industry and I said, “He is making cars. Somebody there is making a safety pin. It does not matter whether you are making a computer, car, safety pin or spacecraft, what is the fundamental business?” He said, “What? My business is computer.”
I said, “Your business is not computer. The fundamental business is human well-being, isn't it? You might have forgotten why you are making a computer. Essentially, you are manufacturing computers to make human life better. Somebody is manufacturing a safety pin to make human life better. The essential business is human well-being, and that is my business too, so that is why I am here.”
Integrity and Insight
What people expect from a leader is that, first of all, he is straight. People do not appreciate you manipulating them. You do not have to be brilliant or a genius or a super human to be a leader. You are straight – your integrity is always there – and you have some vision and insight into a few things. That makes you a leader.
When you are truly inclusive, you will naturally have an insight about everything. Then the right kind of people will naturally gather around you when they see a certain level of integrity in you, and things will happen, according to your capability, of course. You can never equate people’s capabilities. People come with different capabilities, which is fine, but the question is just this: are you able to use yourself to the fullest extent or no? If you yourself are an issue on a daily basis, you cannot handle issues on the outside. If you make yourself in such a way that you are not an issue anymore, now you can attend to the outside issues to the best of your capability, and your leadership will happen effortlessly, without being stressful to you, or to anyone for that matter. That is transformative leadership.