E-Canteen Fundas: No one's born a leader. So here's how you can become one 

Pro Tip: Leadership in its most basic form is leading your life in a way that it influences your life and that of others around you for the better
Be the leader | (Pic: Edexlive)
Be the leader | (Pic: Edexlive)

‘I feel we need good leaders if we have to prosper as a society,’ said Rahul. ‘We have very few.’
‘Why don’t you become one then?’ asked Rakesh. 
‘Is it that simple?’ asked Rinku. ‘I believe leaders are born and not made. They have certain innate qualities that make them born leaders. Charisma, oratory skills and initiative.’
‘You mean one cannot develop those qualities even if one wanted to?’ asked Rahul. ‘Should we always be followers? Never leaders?’
‘How can we suddenly become charismatic leaders?’ asked Rinku. ‘I cannot see myself as a leader.’
‘We definitely can be good leaders,’ said Rakesh. ‘Like Rahul said we need good leaders, not just charismatic leaders. Leadership, like any other skill, can be learned. Becoming a good leader is simply a matter of practice. Anyone of us can become a good leader if we want to.’
‘How, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku. ‘I’d like to be a good leader and change society for the better. But, how long will it take for me to become a good leader? Where do I start?’
‘Let’s simplify the issue first,’ said Rakesh. ‘Leadership is not a complicated skill that only a few are bestowed with. It’s not grabbing a position of power and using it to benefit oneself. It’s about doing what is right and benefiting others. So let’s get this misconception that leadership is about a position out of our minds, shall we?’
‘How can we lead if we don’t have a position?’ asked Rahul. 
‘Rahul,’ said Rakesh. ‘A person can have the highest position and be a bad leader and a person can be in the lowest position and be a good leader. We are all born leaders whatever our position. The question is, are we leading now?’
‘What do you mean, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.
‘In its simplest form, leadership is how we lead our lives and how we influence people by the way we lead our lives. I think that’s where we must begin if we want to learn leadership.’
‘What does “the way we lead our lives” mean?’ said Rinku. ‘How can I lead my life any differently?’
‘To be good leaders we must first practice being good role models,’ said Rakesh. ‘We must be aware of what we are thinking, saying, doing and being, because how we are influences all those around us. People get influenced by our words and actions and that’s what leadership is about — influencing others. You are a good leader if the way you lead influences people in a good way and a poor leader if you influence your team in a bad way.’ 

‘How do we know how we are influencing the team?’ asked Rahul.
‘By the way they act or behave,’ said Rakesh. ‘If your team or people around you are doing a good job, being responsible, being diligent, hardworking, honest, inclusive, somewhere you are leading well. If they aren’t, you need to examine how you are leading your life and where the problem is in your life. What you see out there reflects you. To us, it simply comes down to, how are you leading your life and how is it influencing others?’
‘I never thought of it like that,’ said Rinku. ‘I think I am leading my life well but I know there are ways I can improve. I am certain I am not influencing anyone — not even my friends, not my watchman or anyone. I am not even making a difference to my life, forget others.’
‘Me too,’ said Rahul. ‘I’d like to make a difference to myself first by leading my life differently. And then influence others. But how do we do it?’
‘Well, we can start to live our lives more passionately, for a cause. With discipline and compassion, we can promote equality, justice, fairness and peace… live in a way that we want the world to be. Once you start living your life that way, you begin to influence others. A good leader practices what she preaches, so let’s begin there. Leadership is about showing our thoughts in action. Let’s lead our lives in a way that we see what we want to see in the world around us.’ 
‘Wonderful,’ said Rinku. ‘So instead of trying to learn leadership like a course, we can start by ‘leading’ our lives in a way that influences our life and those of others.’
‘I know where to start my leadership practice right away,’ said Rahul. ‘There are many things I do that are not influencing my younger brother right. I’ll start with making my bed and keeping my room clean.’
‘Brilliant,’ said Rakesh. ‘Let’s discuss more about leadership next time. Until then, practice leadership by leading your life well.’

Pro Tip: Leadership in its most basic form is leading your life in a way that it influences your life and that of others around you for the better.

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