Friday, January 28, 2011

A Glowing Candle

I have wondered long, all the recent news about uprisings and protests across the world against established political figures who have been in power for a very long time. The recent events in Tunisia, Egypt and now in Yemen show a disenchantment of the people with these traditional leaders. In today's turbulent times, the moral bankruptcy of the political figures across the world is becoming more and more evident. Their right to lead is being questioned, the tolerance for such political figures and their antics is disappearing. This brings us to a very pertinent question in today's times. What is true leadership?

What is the leadership that will deliver in these turbulent times? What is the leadership for all seasons? As I seek answers, I am drawn to an oft repeated Sufi allegory. I am drawn to the candle that burns itself to provide light to others. One always associates a candle with its flickering light, with its soft glow, with its gentle warmth. The gentle warmth that fills your heart. The glowing light that brightens up your darkness. The flickering light that shows you the way. And leadership is all of these, too. Leadership is gentle inspiration that fills your heart. Leadership is glowing hope that brightens your darkness. Leadership is steady guidance that shows you the way. Leadership is about caring for others first before you think about yourself, like the glowing candle that dissipates itself into nothingness. Such leaders are the need of the hour. Such leaders will deliver us in these turbulent times.

Quoting Vince Lombardi, " Leadership is based on a spiritual quality; the power to inspire, the power to inspire others to follow". This inspirational, almost spiritual quality, is what is missing today. Jim Collins talks about Level 5 leadership. Robert Greenleaf and Ken Blanchard talk about Servant leadership. As one delves deep into what is being said, it is truly about putting others ahead of you. It is about caring for others, about serving others. It is not easy. It takes a lot of strength because ultimately, leadership is about opening your heart to others, hearing their problems, carrying their problems with you. It is about lightening the burden that others have to carry. The candle burns to nothingness, lighting up other lives. The leader carries the burden of a disenchanted world, inspiring a revolution. The world needs leaders like these today. You might be one such leader? Stand up for it. Be a glowing candle that lights up this dark world!!!

1 comment:

  1. The candle lights the way but it does not choose the path. I think the difficult path of leadership is the latter and goes beyond the touchy-feely.

    The crisis of political leadership has more to do with corruption and self-aggrandizement and is a third world phenomenon in my opinion. They just can't let go.