Saturday, December 21, 2013
Competency, Character , Courage and Compassion -the 4 C's that Ensure Long term Success of a Leader!
Some time ago, some one in a large organization asked me the essential traits that are required for any leader to lead an organization and ensure long term success. I explained the relevance of Competency, Character, Courage and Compassion the way I understood it, to answer his question. My friend was not so convinced. I know, a good majority of my fellow country men in India would not take my views.
But whether they accept it or not, it is a universal truth. Leaders who do not have these traits might seem to be successful for a while but the irony is that they would not be able to sustain their success for long.
The organization could be any thing. Political, business, governmental, administrative, religious, social, educational, military, law enforcement, judicial, etc, etc. It could be large or small. It could be autonomous or dependent. It could be a organizational conglomerate with multiple objectives or a simple one with a single objective. Whatever it is, leaders lacking the 4 Cs above could ruin it after some time.
Human civilization has seen many powerful political and national organizations such as many great empires of the past rising and thriving for some time, only to be disintegrated wholly after a while.
Even in the recent times we have been observing such phenomena.
While an individual human being with a life span of say 70-80 years on an average is considered generally as a very good one with regard to age an organization sustaining it activities for a few generations is viewed with some admiration. We have very few organizations of that kind. Even political or national organizations that have survived a few generations are also rare, yet they do exist.
What makes an organization to sustain a life exceeding the average life of a human being? If you study such organizations, you would realize that the leaders of such organizations had the above said 4 C quality much more than their contemporaries.
I think this phenomena is due to the existence of an invisible divine over control over human organizations.
When the majority of people desire their leaders to be some one with the above 4 C's there is a potential divine blessing over such peoples to have such leaders elevated as their leaders. When the majority of people do not give any importance to this aspect, the reverse happens and they are bound to suffer collectively.
Now let us examine what is meant by these four words.
Competency is the ability to perform a desirable task well. It comprises of knowledge, intelligence, wisdom and a desire to learn and update. It involves skills for language, communication and such other soft skills as well. Common sense is very important. Competency is a mixture of inherent qualities enhanced by proper education and training. A leader should be competent enough to know his organization, understand the work, differentiate between good and bad and should have the ability for reasoning and decision making. Different works might require different kinds of competency.
Competency of a person is polished by his or her character. Character is that innate quality of a person to select and opt good from bad. It involves such traits such as honesty, values, ethics and the like. A highly competent person can have a good character or may be ever characterless. A characterless leader with high competency is highly dangerous for the organization and the people. If we study history, we can see hundreds of examples of this kind.
Courage is the trait that makes a leader different. If a leader lacks courage to lead and take appropriate decisions at appropriate moments, such leader could bring failures and disasters for the organization that he leads even while he has enough competency and is a person of character. At the same time courage should not be such that it causes misadventure. In other words, courage should be reflected through wise decisions.
A leader must be compassionate to fellow human beings. His or her decisions should always be based on compassion to other humans. But compassion should not blind him or her from taking corrective actions. A compassionate leader is bound to be 'mild and soft as a dove, but clever and assertive as a serpent'. Love and mercy to all humans be his guiding force. But his competency should come to his aid in weeding out those inherently bad elements who do not deserve love and mercy. Perhaps this is one of the greatest problems many leaders face in their lives. They often commit great errors of judgement in realizing the real motives or natures of others. Often this causes, leaders to like and promote those around them who are good in the art of sycophancy. The fundamental principle to understand here is that people with competency and character are less likely to indulge in pampering others with good words and deeds with some hidden agenda of receiving favors. They are also not likely to fall preys to flattery.
If a nation has survived a few generations successfully, it is an indication that it has strong internal organizations led by people with the 4 C's at various levels. The moment, the national organizations get people who do not have these 4 Cs, the organizations begin to disintegrate. So, it is highly essential that organizations resort to proper leadership changes when leaders of any level is found to lack in the 4 Cs to some recognizable degree.
Though all the four Cs are important, my personal priority of arranging these four in the order of decreasing importance (higher to lower) is like this: Character-Competency-Compassion-Courage!
Often people have this doubt. Would it be possible for a person of character to withstand many others who are characterless in other organizations around?
I would say, yes. And my belief is that in the years to come, characterless people are bound to fail more often than in the past. When I say this, I have some strong intuitive reason for such a belief. That does not mean that we would not be seeing characterless people making successes. Characterless people are going to make short term successes in the future too, just as in the past. But their fall would be quicker.
So, no nation or business would sustain longer when they are infected with people lacking the 4 Cs that I mentioned. Organizations that give honest importance for these 4 Cs for their people are bound to succeed and win over those who do not, in the long run.
Our world is not going to face any global apocalypse or Armageddon . Such scenarios in minor levels could keep happening in the future, because of nations and organizations infected with people lacking the 4 Cs. But total destruction of this world is never going to happen, as feared by many, because of the over control exercised by divine powers. It is absurd to believe that God has created humanity for facing ultimate destruction because of the foolish deeds of some inferior humans or even some inferior angels as believed and taught by some religious leaders of the past or the present.
While the misdeeds of some inferior humans who lack competency, character, courage and compassion in them might bring some disasters now and then, here and there, with some of us facing the consequences, such things should not dishearten us or cause our minds to such levels as praising and admiring evil. In that case we are aligning to the evil that gets happening due to evil men and women who lack the 4 Cs. Instead, it would be better idea to look for instances and people who bring lasting success and the importance of the 4 Cs in those cases. That would help in us aligning towards good rather than evil.
Just think about these and make your own judgments.