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A leader has to lead with his head and heart put together
(Interview with Shiv Khera)

ICMR India ICMR India ICMR India

Interview by -  Pradip Sinha,
Associate Consultant,
ICMR (IBS Center for Management Research).

Shiv Khera Shiv Khera is the Founder of Qualified Learning Systems Inc. An educator, business consultant, a much soughtafter speaker and a successful entrepreneur, Khera has many feathers on his cap. He works to inspire and inform people, helping them realize their true potential. He has taken his dynamic personal message around the world. Khera has been recognized as a "Louis Marchesi Fellow" by the Round Table Foundation. His numerous interviews have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and various radio and television shows internationally. He has authored three bestsellers, You Can Win, which sold over a million copies worldwide, Living With Honor and Freedom Is Not Free.

What according to you is the difference between a leader and a manager?

A leader knows why something is done, whereas a manger knows how it is done. All through history, you will find people who know how something is done, and always work for those who know why it is done. A leader has a vision and a plan, a manager implements the plan. A leader establishes core values whereas a manager establishes core competencies.

What role does a leader play in an organization's long-term stability?

A leader defines the values, vision, and mission of an organization, which lays the foundation for its growth.

A great leader leads from within. A great leader achieves greatness on a daily basis: He inspires and informs. A great leader establishes:

1. A purpose, and
2. Creates a strategy that includes taking risk and follow-up plans.

A great leader's vision and strategy includes all stakeholders. A great leader has two things clearly defined:

1. They know where they are going, and
2. They have the ability to persuade others to go along.

A great leader leaves a legacy by:

1. Creating a succession plan, and
2. Inculcating a desire in others to carryon. In other words, there is passion with purpose.

A leader through his core team creates a strategic plan, thereafter, he monitors its implementation.

Does one need to be a born leader or can he/she be groomed over a period of time?

Each one is born with some leadership qualities. However, 90% of it is acquired. And one needs to strive to achieve those qualities. Grooming comes where there is willingness, desire, and a "can-do" attitude. If there is consistent endeavor armed with honesty, sincerity, and above all, integrity, then there is a good leader in the making.

What difference can a leader make to an organization, in which others might fail?

A leader is a pillar of an organization. The leader makes the foundation, but if the foundation is weak, the people get disoriented, and the structure goes haywire. A leader is an institution by himself and sets the tone for an organization. Culture always goes topdown in any family, organization or a country, and never bottom-up.

A leader must walk his talk; it is philosophy put into action that gives direction and destination. A leader is an agent of change who makes a difference. A leader without power is no leader; but the big question is from where does a leader get power? He gets power from three Ps of power:

1. Position Power: Some people get power from position and title, but if you take away the title, the power goes away. Position and titles give authority, and authority gives power; but, only good behavior gives respect.

2. Personality Power: There are charismatic personalities like film stars. Personality opens the door; character keeps it open.

3. Principle Power: Power that is based on character which is lasting. Some of the greatest leaders of the world were short, tall, fat or bald, but they had one thing common that was character. If you look at life of Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Gandhi, they all had character.

A leader also needs to take three kinds of decision, which is called three Cs of decision-making.

1. Decision of Command: There is nobody to help, and a leader has to take the decisions alone. This is where conviction plays a very important role. There is a big difference between preferences and convictions in life. Preferences are negotiable, convictions are not. Under pressure, preferences become weak and convictions always become stronger.

2. Decision of Consultation: A leader creates his team, consults them, and then decides.

3. Decision of Consensus: History reflects, great leaders have not always had consensus, but they create consensus. That is where the power of conviction and communication playa role.

Why are there only few women leaders? Is there something, which men have and they don't? Do you see this ratio changing in the future?

The reason why you see more men than women among leaders is not because of the difference in ability, but in my opinion, there may be biological reasons because women bear children and men don't. Hence, there may be biological requirements which can only be met by a mother.

Though times are changing drastically, it is not uncommon to see women delaying marriages. Bearing children late in life, and having small families is a norm nowadays. Quite often women prioritize career over family.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with our readers?

My research shows:

1. There is no old or new paradigm of leadership.
2. There is no such thing known as neutral leader; good leaders guide, bad leaders misguide. Bad leaders look for followers, good leaders look for more leaders because bad leaders feel insecure, whereas good leaders have an anchor which gives them poise and confidence with humility.

To sum it up, a leader has to lead with his head and his heart put together.

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