Leadership is the expertise to encourage the process of decision making through the capacity to listen and observe. Leadership is not the measure of a person’s skill of performance; rather it is the measure of a person’s capacity of leading the performance.
The most gifted athletes rarely make good coaches. The best violinist will not necessarily make the best conductor. Nor will the best teacher necessarily make the best head of the department.
The thrill of challenge makes a potential leader. A willingness to take responsibility will never intimidate a true leader, because the joy of accomplishment, the vicarious feeling of contributing to other people, is what leadership is all about.
A leader needs an environment to succeed. It is so important, particularly in the early days of someone’s leadership, that he or she be put into a congenial environment. An environment that threatens our sense of security or well-being splits our concentration from the cause.
Most qualities which define the characteristics of any individual begin at home. Leadership is no different. A natural leader begins the process of conscious decision making at home. It is his or her habitat which mirrors this skill of leadership.
Habitat is Latin for ‘It inhabits’. The type of environment in which any life form or a group normally lives is known as habitat. A leader contributes towards a process of building and improving his or her habitat through an involved engagement of the broader community through inclusive leadership and diverse partnerships which would nourish the habitat further
The sense of caring and sharing with one’s brethren and the sense of fellowship forms the core of a habitat. A leader has a very great role to play in acting as a catalyst for a synergetic relationship between individuals working in diverse habitat related areas and to maximise their total effectiveness.
Delhi, one of India’s richest cities faces an unparalleled water crisis. Poonam Bisht may be the best known resident of West End, an affluent neighbourhood in New Delhi. The housewife and mother of two is the suburb’s resident activist.
Ms. Bisht’s is responsible for building a rainwater harvesting system in the neighbourhood. The low tech system consists of a network of unassuming gutters in the ground that funnel rainwater to shallow pits lined with pebbles that act as a filter.
Thanks to this system, West End is able to draw on its own tubewells and no longer hires trucks to bring in water as is the norm in many Indian Cities where ground water has dried up.
This rare quality of leadership with a hands-on approach shown by Ms. Bisht is a shining example of how leadership can change the environment in which we live. She faced a number of hurdles along the way, but she had a never-say-die spirit which culminated in a better habitat for the residents of one colony of Delhi.
If every colony of Delhi takes a leaf out of her book, and has someone with the leadership shown at West End, the water problem of Delhi will be solved not by the state but by the leadership initiative of its residents.
In the words of the noted American aviation pioneer and author, Amelia Earhart “Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off! But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”