Presidents’ Day, which falls on the third Monday of February and also celebrated as George Washington’s birthday, and also roughly coincides with the birthdays of past Presidents Abraham Lincoln, William Henry Harrison, and Ronald Reagan. However, in recent times, more than recognizing a specific individual, the day is used to look back on the legacies of all of our past presidents, to commemorate their accomplishments, and to reflect on the qualities that we value in our leaders.
What is it that transforms an individual from an average person into a so-called leader? Is leadership an innate capability in an individual, or is it a skill that one can learn and cultivate within oneself?
Below, Sadhguru speaks more about the essential qualities of a successful leader and how to nurture one’s leadership potential.
Leadership Beyond the Leader
Sadhguru: “So if one has to become a leader, he has to transform this [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, he should be able to see things that other people are not able to see. He need not be a superhuman being, he need not know everything – most leaders don’t know much, but they’re able to see certain things that other people are missing, and they’re able to put together to a common purpose – they’re able to put people together for a certain common purpose. That makes them leaders.
Once you’re in the position of leadership, every thought that you generate, every emotion that you generate, every action that you perform has impact on many, many people. Maybe a few hundred people, thousand people, or millions of people, depending on what type of leadership you’re in. So every thought, every emotion, every action of a leader has an impact on many, many lives. When this is so, it is extremely important that one who wishes to be a leader in some way focuses on how he is within himself too, not just about how he performs in the world.
Who you are, what your mind is, what your emotions are, how you are right now will manifest in every action that you perform in the world. And once you have moved to a position of responsibility, that is having a huge impact on many, many lives, so it would be irresponsible for a leader not to be constantly striving to transform himself first.
And essentially, leadership means, either you’re transforming lives of people directly, or you’re transforming situations which will in turn lead to transformation of life for other people. So transformation and leadership cannot be separated. Leadership is the art of making people understand essentially, deep down, all our aspirations are same. Whether you are leading a company, or a community, or a city, or a country, essentially it is about making people realize somewhere deep down, all our aspirations are same.
The first time I was at the economic forum [UN World Economic Forum], people looked at me very resentfully. They said, ‘What is a mystic doing at an economic conference?’ So I thought, ‘Let me speak their own language.’ So I asked, ‘What do you do; what’s your business?’ This person said, ‘Well, I’m working for Lenovo, we’re the second largest computer manufacturers and we do this, this…’
I said, ‘See you are doing computers.’ I pointed out one man who was a General Motors person and I said, ‘See, he is making cars. Somebody there is making safety pin. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making 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 wellbeing, isn’t it? That’s the reason why you’re making – you might have forgotten why you’re making a computer. Essentially you’re manufacturing computer to make human life better, isn’t it? Somebody’s manufacturing a safety pin to make human life better. So essential business is human wellbeing, and that’s my business too. So that’s why I’m here.’ Everybody’s business is human wellbeing.
What people expect you from a leader is that first of all, he’s straight. People don’t appreciate you manipulating them. People appreciate that first of all, you’re straight. You don’t have to be brilliant to be a leader, you don’t have to be a genius to be a leader, you don’t have to be a superhuman to be a leader. You’re straight, your integrity is always there, and you have some vision, you have some insight into a few things – that makes you into a leader. When you are truly inclusive, you’ll naturally have an insight about everything, and then 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, it’s 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 – please see, you yourself are an issue on a daily basis. When you are an issue, you cannot handle issues on the outside. So if you make yourself like this, that this [you] is 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, without being stressful to you or anybody for that matter. It’s transformative leadership.”
Meditation for Leadership
Isha’s Inner Engineering Program offers simple, powerful methods to increase one’s focus, mental clarity, and strengthen one’s intuition and insight which naturally enhances leadership capability.
Anwar Sumar, Divisional VP of Sears Canada, explains how IE helped him become a better leader, stating, “I have more energy, I am more centered, a better leader, better father, better husband. I have opened up more.” Watch more below: