Engineering Horizons

QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP

QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP

February 16
13:03 2019

QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP

By:  Mr. Azim Ashraf is a RP Chair & BOG member of ASHRAE CPC. He was also a BOG member of Ashrae NPC. He is a founding member of Pakistan HVACR Society and Past SVP & Past Chairman Lahore Chapter. He was awarded Life Time Achievement Award in 2009. He is a CEO of Remca Associates, a HVAC&R Consulting Firm, working since 1977.  email: remcaa@gmail.com

Now he is the President of Pakistan HVACR Society

In our historical context, the connotational meaning of “Leader” is, national political leader. But in many societies, particularly in the developed countries, a leader generally means the top slot of any organization, commercial, educational or service. In the free market economics, the leaders of organizations play a vital role in the success and advancement of the respective bodies. Whether it is politics or business, education or service; a real leader distinguishes himself / herself in many ways.

What are those qualities & traits which make a person “Leader” and he starts enjoying respectable place in an institution or in an organization or in a nation? There is an universal adage, “No great work is done without great men; and why they are great, because they are fully committed and dedicated to a cause.”

A leader needs diversified qualities for any success in different situations; but generally cool mindedness, tolerance, good character, good intelligence, dareness, hardwork, consistency, dedication to higher causes and

well groomed personality are the important ingredients of a leader. It has been realized that a leader should pass on the responsibilities to other persons to share his workload, but he should not leave the “decision power” on others. Decision power is the very responsibility for which he is chosen. If he leaves this work for others then he becomes a follower—-not a leader.

Various roles played by good Leadership of today are identified as role model, motivator, goal setter, initiator, decision maker, conflict resolver, team builder, spokesman and crisis manager, coupled with core fundamental values of five E’s—–Envision, Equip, Empower, Edify and Evaluation.

 Very rare personalities are available who possess all the above qualities in one; yet there are majority of them who hold combination of more than one quality; and it has been found that even such personalities play a good leadership role on many occasions.

Leadership is categorized as institutional / organizational or national basis. Both categories have some common qualities to succeed, but national leadership must have some more typical traits and characteristics. Nevertheless, Organizational Leadership is at a premium today and there is a clear recognition of the fact that in most situations the enthusiasm & motivation aroused in people by powerful & positive leadership, is the most potent strategic weapon that provides sustained competitive advantages.

Today, management is defined as, “The process of getting things done through others”; whereas leadership is defined as “The process of getting things done willingly through others”. The difference between the two definitions is one word but that word willingness and the degree of willingness aroused determines the effectiveness of the leader. Positive and powerful leader has an extraordinary ability to arouse such degrees of willingness & motivation in people that the impossible seems to become possible. The willingness aroused by a leader in organizational situations translates into achievement & excellence.

The article written by Victor Goldschmidt about “Leadership Vs Management” printed in November 2004 Ashrae Journal, explains that management ensures a team is progressing efficiently, with primary concerns of meeting objectives, following budgets, providing proper controls, and directing staff. Leadership, on the other hand, has an eye on the future and empathy for the present. Leadership is primarily

concerned with having a clear vision that stimulates the entire group and motivates them individually and collectively toward that vision. Management becomes primarily concerned with efficiency in performance; leadership with effectiveness in reaching towards the vision. Management prefers to control and direct. Leadership encourages risk, and releases control to those embracing the vision. Management centralizes power; leadership distributes power. Management and leadership should work together. However, management without leadership becomes uncreative and archaic. Leadership without management, while exciting and motivating, can lead to naiveté and poor stewardship.

Effective leadership initiates (1) the ability to develop a climate that is conducive for motivation through personal examples. (2) a leader’s ability & confidence to inspire. (3) the ability to comprehend human behaviour and apply this knowledge to people & situation.

About 3000 years ago, a Chinese philosopher analyzed the following qualities of a good leader:-

 

·    When one gets fame, discover and observe his friends prior to getting the fame.

 

·    When one becomes wealthy, discover and observe, to whom he gives away his wealth.

 

·    When he gets a good position or the top slot, discover and observe which things he refuses to accept.

 

·         When one is a poor, discover and observe which things he refuses to accept.

Major traits for effective leadership are God fearing, selflessness, intelligence, analytical ability, self-confidence, dominance, assertiveness, desire to lead, honesty and integrity, knowledge, expertise, need for achievement, creativity and intuition which play an important role in the leadership personality.

History is replete with examples of great leaders working on healthier lines and serving the mankind in many ways. History is also full with examples of bad leadership who perished away in a short span of life (after destruction of the institutions / organizations or a nation). It is also on record that sometimes leaderships appear to be very intelligent, shrewd and vocal who are generally considered an asset to an organization;

Leadership qualities are sometimes God gifted and inborn. Such personalities are rarely born in centuries and one can count them on fingers. Such leaders leave their footprints for others to follow. On the other hand, leadership qualities can be inculcated through training, taming, coaching, education, experience and following the good deeds of good leaders. This type of grooming also creates good leadership and majority of them play an important role in upbringing the institutions on healthier lines.

 

Oftenly, criterion for top slots is prepared keeping in view of higher qualifications and good professionalism but, it is not necessary that such genious persons may perform a good leadership role. Criterion for leadership demands a different recipe which should be looked into analytically.

 

but if they are short tempered, flare up in seconds, jump into personal attacks, do not respect others and spoil the decency and its environment, such personalities are vulnerable to rapid fall, to lose respect and to cause degeneration of institution or of a nation.  Such leaders do have the tendency and recipe of sick person syndrome. On the other hand, there might be some leaders who are meek, weak and bleak, and at times, they too become instrumental and responsible in the downfall of the institutions. And above all, if there are 4 weaknesses, found / known in a person, he may not prove to be a good leader:

 

1.   To be silent, when it is proper time to speak.

2.   To speak, when it is proper time to be silent.

3.   To act, when it is not proper time to act.

4.   And not to act, when it is proper time to act.

A leader should keep on studying different subjects to expand his vision and memory and keep himself abreast with the day to day developments in the world as per his position. Such things adorn a leader with practical knowledge, education, know-how and democratic vision and to polish his skills and abilities.

Leadership principles are the same whether one is leading a household, a company, an institution or a country. “Trust” is the basic requirement for influencing people to follow him. Trust is never built on what the leader says but on what he does and what he is. Thus a striking personality is definitely an attraction for followers / colleagues, but a character based on ethical and moral standing is what inspires people to follow him and develop deep-rooted devotion and passion for the vision of the leader. And in the corporate world, the same prevails.

It is true that leadership plays a crucial role in the development of an institution, but sometimes, on account of some obvious reasons, change does not necessarily have to be initiated from the top. It is always a few committed people at the bottom whose vision, passion and integrity become an example for many others to follow, and soon these few people turn their drive with the help of likeminded colleagues which over a period of time, creates enough lobby and pressure group to bring a change at the top. This bottom-up approach, at times, becomes the moral duty of the people who have intellectual and moral integrity to take the responsibility of not becoming a passive party but take it upon themselves to develop and set examples of personal sacrifice which restore moral and ethical balance of the society / institution.

It is also essential that the top slot should have a good team to run the affairs of its institution in an efficient manner. Top slot should have an option to select its own team of willing & dedicated officers. Where there it is not possible, the top slot should pick & chose like minded, cooperative & good persons out of the elected / selected / nominated lot. Some times, it is possible that few or more than few officers are willingly non-cooperative towards the top slot’s working style / policies / personality etc; on account of any or many reasons then he (top slot) should be smart enough to smell, and should have simultaneously its own unofficial kitchen cabinet consisting of “brains” of the institution so as to enable him to deliver the goods effectively, while side tracking the elected / selected officers tactfully, without snatching their portfolios OR removing / reshuffling them diplomatically or straight away depending upon the circumstances; following an adage “strike while the iron is hot”. Efforts should be made to play a safe gamble in either way, to avoid a back fire. Here the vision & courage of leadership play an important role.

Hence, it is all the more important that selection / election of a leader for top slot needs very careful considerations. There should be a system or policy statement     “The office shall seek the person rather than the person seeks the office”. On this principle, selection of the Caliphs were made after the demise of the last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) which worked very well. Such type of leadership made great impact on account of their selflessness and dedication and they were and they are being quoted exemplary and role models for the future leaderships.

 

Presently, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers USA), an NGO, more than 100 years old, is following a very good policy for the selection / election of the office bearers including the top slot. All institutions must study and follow ASHRAE style, if they want to sustain for longer periods.

 

Last but not the least, when the Almighty Allah blesses a person for a good position

 

or for a top slot, he must supplicate the following verses:-

 

O Lord’ when You give me wealth,

Take not away my happiness.

 

When You give me might,

Take not away my wisdom.

 

When You give me glory,

Take not away my humanity.

 

When You give me authority,

Take not away my grace.

     and

When You give me every thing,

Help me not to lose my self.

 References:

  • ASHRAE journal Nov 2004 “Leadership vs Management” by Victor Goldschmidt
  • MANAGEMENT, a pacific rim focus   with study guide to     accompany by Pamela Mathews.
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Engineering Horizons

Engineering Horizons

“Engineering Horizons” is the first & leading technical magazine of Pakistan covering Process, Mechanical, Metallurgical, Mining, Electrical & Electronics field under a single cover. We also feel pleasure in saying that this is the only magazine of its own kind & style, which is widely circulated in all Engineering Sectors of Pakistan.

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