As I sit down on the eve of my 40th birthday to write this editorial, I couldn't have thought of writing on a more important aspect -- as great political leadership is what India requires more than anything else today. And though I have written considerably on leadership, it has mainly been about corporate leadership.
Leadership in corporations is massively different from political leadership, and therefore it requires a special model and a special line of thinking. While in corporations the final aim is profit maximisation in most cases, in politics the final objective is necessarily social welfare maximisation.
While in corporations the best leaders are often the best marketing guys, in politics the best leaders necessarily have to be the people who are the sincerest and most hard working. While in business you can make do without the knowledge of economics, in politics that can be suicidal. While in business being unethical can harm you and at most your stake holders, in politics the lack of ethics ruins an entire nation's future.
And most importantly, while in corporations leadership is about commitment to the strongest and survival of the fittest, in political leadership, the focus always is about commitment to the weakest and survival of the weakest. Thus, for me, political leadership is not just about having certain qualities but also simultaneously about not having various qualities. Rather, what is important is to ensure that one does not possess certain specific qualities first; if that is taken care of, the rest would then automatically fall in place.
Keeping all the above in mind, I believe the model of the seven winning virtues of political leadership (viz credibility, compassion, clairvoyance, camaraderie, commitment, charisma and competence) that I have developed is most suited for Indian politicians in particular.
Well, the difference in this model and any other such model is that in this model, each element or virtue is actually the opposite of one of the seven sins of life -- the seven deadly sins that we are supposed to avoid; to a large extent, as normal human beings and to an almost extreme extent, as a political leader! The first sin that a leader must avoid is that of greed. This is what seems to be the biggest problem with political leaders in India. The reason behind all the lack of development in India at the cost of swelling Swiss bank accounts. The second sin every politician needs to avoid is gluttony.
The next sin a leader must avoid is the sin of sloth. Sloth is being spiritually and emotionally apathetic and being physically and emotionally inactive. The fourth sin that leaders must avoid is envy. The fifth sin to avoid is the sin of lust. It refers to the way politicians have been doing things -- from threats to hide their lust filled deeds to even murders.
The sixth sin that political leaders need to avoid is the sin of pride! And that brings us to the final deadly sin that every political leader should avoid. The sin of wrath. This is what political leadership all about -- avoiding the seven keys sins and instead developing the seven winning virtues to lead their countries towards a better future. That's what great leaders were all about. Their lives are a lesson in avoiding the seven sins and delivering on the winning virtues! May a day come when Indian leaders are full of these seven virtues.
The writer is a management guru