Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Leadership is no fun but without leadership the world cannot run
If we search through the history of mankind, we will find a lot of brilliant minds, innovation, wars, agricultural revolution, industrial revolution, technological revolution & now information revolution & much more. However one thing that is common in all these is the presence of great leadership to direct & channelize human effort & intellect towards correct path. Ask yourself, can you imagine an aero plane without a pilot, a football team without a captain, an army without a general, a country without a President, a ship without a captain, an office without a CEO, a child without a father ? The subject of leadership has been constantly experimented, reformed & challenged in all generations. The way our grandparents were lead might not be the way we will be lead & might not be the way our children will be lead. Methods applied in leadership can change but not the soul. Inspiration still & will continue to dominate motivation. 21st century is also dealing with it’s own issues but one critical field which is in constant focus & going through a transformation is the subject of leadership. So we have a big responsibility to onboard the next generation of leaders as smoothly as possible & at the same time ensuring that they do not suffer from the bias of their own experience, the experience which remembers poor & short sighted leaders who lead them in last 50 years. When the millennials start taking over the executive & senior leadership position in organization & government all over after 10 years from now, they must have their expectations right, they must have their priorities right, they must have their moralities in place & they must be able to, without blinking or frowning a bit, differentiate between poor leadership & great leadership. We all know & have constantly heard of, how hard it is to lead, how much of sacrifice leaders have to make, how much pain leaders have to suffer, how much pressure they face everyday & so on. There has been enough research work done on this subject & still continuing. However we must also remember that Leadership is a very special & coveted profile job & it comes with some great life changing perks & advantages. I hereby would like to list down 5 advantages of being a leader which our millennials & generation Z must keep in mind when they are setting up their expectations for becoming future leaders,
There is hardly any leader in the world who does not feel proud of his position in the social or corporate ladder. This feeling of pride can make someone arrogant or humble & grateful. Make sure you use this pride to cultivate of feeling of being grateful & avoid any iota of arrogance peeping in. This feeling of pride is generated by a brain chemical named Serotonin. The funny thing about this feeling is when you do good to people using your leadership position you generate more serotonin in your body & thereby feel immense pride. For your information, people suffering from depressions are given small doses of serotonin as well to boost self-confidence. In balanced proportion Serotonin does wonders to your brain & body. The feeling of pride in what you do can generate a feeling of fulfilment & interestingly when your family members and friends see you in leadership position, getting all the attention & taking critical decisions for the company or the group or for that matter country, they also in turn feels proud of you & enjoys the goodness of serotonin. Research & study also has proven that serotonin helps reduce stress as well by controlling cortisol . So the conclusion is that being a leader you can enjoy reduced stress for yourself & your family, improved self confidence & experience career fulfilment.
The higher up you go in the corporate or social ladder, you feel more in control of the state of affairs. Studies conducted by British scientist in Whitehall in London in late 20th century coupled with studies of Stanford & Harvard university as well suggests that job control is inversely proportional to stress. So the higher you go, the more people you manage & take care of, the lesser will be the cortisol emission in your body so stress will decrease. In a nutshell the studies have proven that leaders who experiences high job control enjoys less stress even if they have higher workload, compared to lower ranked people who has high work demand but low job control. As a leader you will have the luxury to choose your work time which others cannot, you can plan your entire year or day in advance which others cannot, you will have the power to change a lot of things that you don’t like & implement things that you want to do. Autonomy is everyone’s dream and as a leader you definitely will be living this dream.
This is no secret, we all know leaders generally get paid well. Problem with this one is, there are lot of executives & managers who lacks leadership capability & ambition but want to become one so they can earn more. One of our leadership problems faced in last 50 years can be credited to this unbalanced income between leaders & workers. In 2018 there was a survey conducted on this topic which revealed this gap, USA, India & UK were the top 3 countries where the gap between pays of a CEO & a worker was huge.
Do remember that other than gaps in salary, there is also bonus component in leader’s paycheck. I am not an advocate of bonus components & too huge a gap in compensation however historically & futuristically this gap will remain always, only fluctuation in gaps might happen from one century to another. So if you are willing to become a leader for good reasons or passion then additional money does no harm. Money can also generate sudden burst of happiness and adrenaline rush which is also required in your life but in a balanced way.
When you step up to a leadership profile, you either were a natural networker or will get trained to be good in networking anyways. It is very rare to find a leader who is bad at networking. Networking is a great asset to have in terms social skill both in & out of work. Leaders not only are more likely to have a bigger network inside the organization due to their position but also they can have external networks which can help them in future. Herminia Ibarra who is the Charles Handy Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School & Mark Lee Hunter who is an adjunct professor at INSEAD and a co-founder of the Stakeholder Media Project at the INSEAD Social Innovation Center wrote an article in Harvard business Review edition 2007 about their study on Networking skills required by leaders. Their finding was that leaders have to acquire or get better at 3 types of networking skills - Personal, operational & strategic networking skills to stay in the game. So if you are a leader you can acquire this necessary skill which can help you both personally & professionally.
There are only 3 groups of people in this world who can achieve immortality. Only if you are a PERFORMER or A CREATOR or A LEADER you can live beyond your physical lifespan in the hearts of several generation. Only criteria is that you have to be a great one in any of these 3 categories. None the less leadership qualifies you into the race of being immortal, it is up to you after that how you use or misuse your great powers to etch your name on people’s heart for good reason or wrong reason. That’s why we can quickly recollect the names like Steve Jobs but struggles to name 5 employees of Apple, we can remember Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose but not name 5 followers of Netaji, we can remember Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj but not name 5 ministers in his cabinet so easily, we can remember Nelson Mandela but struggle to recall his father’s or mother’s name. Leadership is such a powerful force at even the worst of the leaders who has committed great sins on this earth are remembered by people for the wrong reason, the likes the Hitler, Mao, Pol pot, Stalin, Timur, Aurangzeb to name a few. They became immortal due to the hatred they earned from people, your goal should be to earn respect. So all in all you can be a great software engineer or a doctor or an architect but unless you innovate something or create something new no one will remember you other than your own after you leave your body here. Your luxurious life with lots of money and less work cannot put you in the race of immortality. So if you want to become a leader, you need to understand the power that comes with it if you can nurture it well.