Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Brain-Dead leadership

I was in amidst one of the innumerable friendly conversations with an old pal of mine, when he remarked I show my solidarity for a certain Presidential candidate.

I wanted to pull his leg to see how far he goes when I said I was supporting the opposite candidate. To which he made a statement "Man she is brain-dead. Who'd want her as a leader after 8 years of brain dead leadership".

Obviously this statement is one that is made with the perception that a person who has shown no extra ordinary leadership has been tipped to run the nation.

Friends and relatives all over the US may have a similar perception. However friends and relatives 10000 miles across may see it just as another data point to the end-less observations of power without prior leadership experience.

Let's back up in time a bit and back up in place from the US to India. Let's try our sincere efforts to name leaders who have a proven record of leading people before rising to political power. Indira? Rajiv? Manmohan? Rabri?

The above have definitely proven they were good public servants, however how many would have had that belief when they were sworn into power? The same doubt lingers when names like Sonia and Rahul come up.

Let's try to name a few leaders who have shown leadership at grass roots but shown poor leadership at the helm. Deve Gowda? Chandrashekar? Charan Singh?

Let's look at a few grassroots. Lalu. Kamaraj. Both have a very clear understanding of what they would like to see as an end goal of what they are doing. Kamaraj chose not to be at the helm at the centre because he didn't understand international politics. He wanted to be where he perceived himself fit, as a leader of his state.

Prior leadership experience is definitely a point to consider when choosing, however it may not be the only thing. Leaders have been elected in the past, across various cultures without prior experience and have matured as time passed by. Let's not call such a person "a brain dead leadership", for you may never know the quality of the gem seeing the mineral!

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