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DEVELOPING PSYCHIATRIST AS A LEADER

Presidential address by Dr. Deepak S. Rathod

PRELUDE:

Human enterprise throughout the ages may be divided into five phases . All the right thinking people always dreamt of prosperity and happiness for all the human beings but there is an increasing realization that it is quite difficult to achieve. During the first phase strong people ruled and commanded the weak. This phase started from the Stone Age, continued in the agrarian and early industrialization age. Here it was rule by landlords and monarchs. This phase lasted for thousands of years till the 15th century AD, when few people in Italy came together and found a joint stock company in 1532 AD. Thus started the second phase of human enterprise where many people joined hands to make a big corporation and tried to dominate business and politics. The British East India Company founded in 1600 AD started as a business entity but later ruled the major parts of the world. The domination of corporations was more prominent till 1970-80. Still 50% percent of top global economies are corporations. In 1970s with the advent of easier air travel, collapse of the Berlin wall, entry of the Internet, the whole world became a global market. This was the beginning of the third phase of the human enterprise. Here the crucial thing was speed of travel, communication and information exchange. Microsoft (1981), Dell (1984), Amazon (1995) and Google (1998) can be considered as the representatives of this phase. With the start of the 21st century, convergence technologies led by Indian software giants; Infosys, TCS and Wipro, led the word into the fourth phase of human enterprise. In spite of all the encouraging figures shown by these enterprises and governments, the common people of the world were not benefitted much. The power just shifted from more powerful to bigger and from bigger organizations to more intelligent organizations and people. After the global meltdown of the economy in 2007-08 it was realized that unless all people helped each other in a more constructive way, humanity will not be served. It was realized that organizations who are led in a more realistic way are more sustainable in the long run. This is the fifth phase or realization phase of human enterprise. It is increasingly being realized that our traditional education does not provide enough training for our people to develop the qualities and traits needed for the progress and welfare of the masses. Of all the qualities needed in a human being, it is increasingly being recognized that leadership quality is the most important. The effectiveness of any organization, government or profession is dependent on the quality of leadership at all levels. The effectiveness of the leader depends entirely on the quality of the man as reflected in his inner structure, which is universal. Too often schools have concentrated on teaching people to count rather than teaching that people count. In fact 12% of any success is knowledge and 88% is dealing appropriately with people. Thus dealing appropriately with people is leadership. For every human activity involving a group of people, there is a need for the guiding hand of a leader. On the quality and effectiveness of this leader, depend the progress and future of the group. I am presenting a holistic and practical approach to leadership. It is important for the psychiatrists in particular to take up leadership roles in society, may it be health, education, social relations, politics and economics. A psychiatrist by his basic training in health sciences and human behavior is in an advantageous position to accept such roles. The purpose of my speech is to encourage all psychiatrists to embark on an action program of self-development, so that they can enhance their potential to the maximum extent possible, and become agents of change in their organization and society. It is well to remember that leadership cannot be taught. However a man does have the capability to transform himself to reprogram his personality. ROLE OF LEADERSHIP

We can improve productivity by 30-40% without extra finance, if only we could improve the leadership abilities of our executives. Those who are getting ready to enter any field can place themselves in the leadership roles in any walk of life. This is the practical holistic approach to leadership. “It is perfectly possible to improve myself, I can hope to improve others only by personal example” is its message.

WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?

We know all too much about our leaders, but know too little about leadership. It is the human capability on which depends the success or failure of any plan of human activity. Based on the observation of British Infantry officers commanding the battalion during the World War, a medical doctor Lord Moran defined leadership as - “Leadership is the capacity to frame plans which will succeed and the faculty to persuade others to carry them out in the face of all difficulties.”

The definition has two parts, the first deals with the capacity to frame plans that have a high probability of success. The plan reflects the leader’s grasp and feel of the quality standards. The second part deals with the implementation of the plan by persuading others, despite difficulty, discouragement, obstacles etc. The definition can be explained in very simple terms. Knowing what to do + GETTING THINGS DONE. Block letters suggest the importance of this part of the definition.

PROCESS OF LEADERSHIP

Contemporary culture provides “quick fix” and “instant” techniques to become a leader. There is plenty of literature on leadership, theories, styles, attitudes and behaviors marketed for aspiring leaders. While doing so, the very essence and core factor of leadership- the virtues of human character were side-tracked. Now there is the realization that there is no easy recipe to become an effective leader. All human influence strategies and tactics will fail if our character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity and insincerity. In the long run it cannot be successful. Indian experience of enduring leadership which has sustained our civilization so long emphasizes purity of thought and complete harmony between thought, words and deeds. According to Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis “Management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things. Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success, leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. Management is a bottom line focus, leadership deals with the top line.” Sri Satya Sai Baba gave the Mahavakya of leadership in the march of humanity towards the unity of man, global economy and earth citizenship. It is “TO BE: TO DO: TO SEE: TO TELL”

TO BE: is the source of leadership. It comprises of distinctive identities, values, qualities and knowledge, i.e. strength of personality.

TO DO: is the style of leadership by personal example. It works by method of silent persuasion.

TO SEE and TO TELL: are the functions, tools and techniques of leadership. A leader must be in complete touch with the realities of the situation. To tell means communicating to others, what the leader wants them to do. Instructions must be clearly understood. Communication is through heart and not merely through the lip or by means of paper. It depends on the strength of TO BE and TO DO. Character communicates more eloquently than anything we say or do.

SUGGESTED WAYS TO IMPROVE LEADERSHIP QUALITIES IN INDIANS

Long term corrective measures related to three causes of poor leadership qualities can improve this situation in Indian population.

1. Childhood Upbringing:

The level and quality of achievement in life depends on the values and attitudes imbibed in childhood. In India mothers should be oriented to inculcate self-reliance in children under their care. Children should be promoted to develop an internal locus of control for whatever situation comes in their lives.

2. Environment:

When societies change, lot of things related to security, morality, ethics and values also change and they are more likely to change for the worse. Children and young people should be trained in such a manner that they will create islands of excellence in almost every walk of life- business, enterprise, farming, health, education, administration, voluntary work, military and other organs of state. They should follow the dictum- “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

3. System of Education:

We inherited an education system which was designed by Lord Macaulay to produce good subordinates to support the colonial administration. Development of leadership qualities has been neglected and more emphasis has been put on individual achievement of high grades in an examination. We are lagging in character development and team work among our students. Systematic educational efforts should be started to inject moral values among our students.

UNIVERSAL INNER STRUCTURE OF LEADERS

When we study and analyze outstanding leaders who have made their mark by doing lasting good to mankind, a nation, an organization or a cause, we find that few things are common to all of them. Firstly, in totality of personality, they were gentlemen. The Indian word describing it in the Gita is “Sthithprajnya”. A gentleman has been described as under.

1. An honest man.

2. A man with a sense of duties and obligations of his position.

3. A man who tells the truth.

4. A man who gives to others their dues.

5. A man considerate to the weak.

6. A man who has principles and stands by them.

7. A man not too elated by good fortune and not too depressed by bad.

8. A man who is loyal.

9. A man who can be trusted.

Secondly, every outstanding leader has an inner hard core in him which is composed of certain universal virtues. It can be called selflessness based on an ideal or vision.

SELFLESSNESS:

Selflessness or unselfishness or self sacrifice is the very foundation of this structure. Other two components are knowledge and character. Knowledge helps a leader to determine what to do in any given situation, and strength of character helps him to get things done by appropriately handling people. Knowledge and character support each other. Mere knowledge without character makes man indecisive. Mere character not supported by knowledge limits the potential of a leader. Thus strength and balance of the three components of this structure are important for leadership. Selflessness is a virtue which impacts minds of people for a much longer time, sometimes for centuries. It runs contrary to the current culture adopted from the industrialized world that the goal of career is to rise fast and grow rich almost overnight. Selflessness is the fountainhead of all that is noble in human character, virtues without which it is impossible to influence others. Honesty comes naturally to a selfless man. The degree of selflessness is again based on an ideal or a vision. Higher the ideal or vision more is the selflessness. A young man getting into the military academy is called as “Gentleman Cadet”. The same is reflected in the Indian Army credo for its officers.

“The safety, honor and welfare of the country come first, always and every time.

The honor, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.

Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.”

CHARACTER:

Each individual is a bundle of virtues and weaknesses, resulting in a character referred sometimes as his personality. Core qualities which are really important for leaders are three- Courage, Determination and Initiative.

COURAGE:

Courage is the most admired of all human virtues in all societies. Courage for a leader is to take decisions and to act. He is accountable for success or failure. Qualities associated with courage are quiet resolution, taking risks, taking full responsibity for decisions, to share rewards with subordinates, to take blame when things go adversely, to survive storms and disappointments, to face each new day with the score sheet wiped clean, neither dwelling on one’s success nor accepting discouragements from one’s failures. Peter Drucker advises that, courage rather than analysis dictates the priorities for a leader. He picks the future as against the past, focuses on opportunity rather than on problems, chooses his own direction rather than climb the bandwagon.

WILL-POWER:

Will power to persist is another virtue invariably present in all outstanding leaders. In the implementation of any plan, program or project, hundreds of difficulties arise and failure occurs, sometimes due to natural causes. A leader has the will power to persist in spite of setbacks and obstacles. “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP”- Winston Churchill.

INITIATIVE:

An effective leader is always two steps ahead of the events. He does so by intelligent anticipation based on sound information. A man without initiative hangs around waiting for things to happen.

KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge is a major component of the universal inner structure of an effective leader. It has three sub-divisions.

1. Knowledge of the job:

Knowledge of the field of one’s work gives a leader strength. It is rightly said “Knowledge is power” in this sense. Learning from the knowledge and experience of others should be cultivated by a leader early in his life. “Wisdom begins at a point of understanding that there is nothing shameful about ignorance” .

2. Knowledge of handling people:

Importance of understanding people and handling them appropriately is considered as 88% of effective leadership. Human relationship skills are needed more in middle level of management and leadership.

3. Knowledge of Self:

A good leader must understand his own personality. Quiet introspection to honestly and objectively examine the real motives underlying our actions is the best way to understand ourselves. Deep silence helps our conscience to tell us very clearly when we are being less than ethical and moral.

SUSTAINING MOTIVATION TO BE A LEADER

1. Avoid sleeping more, day dreaming, complaining, comparing, revenge thinking, worrying, social media and thinking about sex.

2. Will power to persist: Health of the body should be maintained through regular exercise, yoga, satvic food etc. Health of the mind should be kept in top order by exercising self-restraint, focus on job at hand, improving listening skills, keen observation, observing the whole- not only parts, avoiding bias and practicing relaxation.

3. Intellect may be kept in top order by reading one book every 20 to 30 days.

4. Spiritual health should be maintained by regular meditation for 20-30 minutes daily and contemplation over timeless truth, who am I, purpose of life, secret of enduring bliss, austerity, self denial etc.

5. Health of Society may be served by Seva (service). At least four hours per week should be devoted for some charitable work.

 
 
 
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