Sunday, February 04, 2007

The real leaders!

They say some leaders are born, and some evolve due to circumstances. They say leaders are populace who lead from the front, distributing the flowers showered on them to their cohorts and taking the brunt of hard-hitting brickbats single-handedly. Although the illustrious high profile leaders readily appear in our minds, have we ever contemplated about the less famous leaders whom we might have met in our lives, who have led astutely but yet remains just one among us? Well, this has been one thought that has been ringing bells in my mind for sometime, and I’ve been trying to recollect those who caught my eye as leaders even in a small inconsequential endeavor. Here are three among them.

Right towards the end of a very dull Michigan winter, I got a call from one Mr. Kapil Arora from JDM Systems Consultants asking about my interest in joining a new cricket club he was forming, to participate in the Detroit Cricket League. He brought together a group of enthusiastic cricket lovers for the team, and we christened the team as ‘Titans’. Kapil was the sole organizer and captain; he bought the cricket kit, arranged the practice sessions, scheduled practice matches with professional teams, maintained scores/statistics and got a bunch of novices to play the professional cricket league. He never got tired despite our team of amateurs loosing all the practice matches we played, despite the difficult job of pleasing everyone in the team by giving them chances to play in matches while making sure that we had a good enough team, and more than anything, making sure that all of us enjoyed spending the moments we spent on cricket. For all the days and nights that he spent for motivating the team, I am sure that Kapil Arora would have been the proudest person when his team Titans went on to win the Detroit Elite Cricket League, upsetting all the favorites en route. Cheers to one of the most honest, trustworthy and motivating leader I have - Kapil Arora, who deservingly remains as the president of DaimlerChrysler Cricket Association in Detroit.

Then there was our dear friend Choodan aka Anoop, who was the heart, vein and blood for the IT festival that we conducted in our B-Tech days. In the midst of other leaders who were given leadership tag-names for coordinating various activities, it was very evident as to who was the real leader who kept motivating us by his ‘no-talk, only-act’ attitude. He was omnipresent - for setting up the stalls, putting up the banners, running around for gathering enough PCs for the gaming area and even bringing water and food for the ‘otherwise’ busy guys. If we could point to one reason on why our first IT fest in Cochin University was a huge success, the fingers direct to one person who belonged to no committee, who just helped everyone day and night with an untiring ethic and non-egoistic attitude, who didn’t want any credit or tag for the work he did – our Choodan!

As mentioned in my previous post, Velu Appoopan, who was spending his life as a beggar after devoting his entire life for leading a miniscule village in Tamil Nadu to self-sufficiency, is the most inspiring. A man who gained nothing out of giving everything he had, to get the uneducated poor farmers to stand on their own feet. He defined some dimension of his own.

We tend to close our horizon with a defining boundary named ‘famous’, when we talk or think about leaders. Once we move out of that Horizon, we are exposed to an inspiring world of small leaders – the ones who do things differently in the tiny society that they live in. In a world where some people call themselves as ‘Leader’ and bribe the Guruvayoorappan for the forgiving the sins they’ve done during their tenure of ‘leadership’, I place my small leaders who remain bright in our day to day life, much higher – They are the ones that really matter. Maybe they are the ones who really makes us discover ourselves, who change our world!

Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine. -- Lance Secretan