Leading By Example

Sadhguru: Whatever the nature of activity that we have chosen for our life, if we wish to be leaders in those situations, the first thing is we must be able to lead by example. Not by words, trickery or cunning, but by example. Fundamentally leading people means your ability to take people in a particular direction that you wish, towards a particular goal. If this has to happen, you must be able to inspire them to go on by themselves in that direction. Only when people are so inspired to do what you want them to do, that they are going to do more than you yourself thought of doing, can you lead them. If you have to constantly keep them in line to get a job done, then it is going to be hugely difficult to be a leader. 

You cannot lead people when you have to constantly supervise and manage them. As the kind of team that you are managing grows beyond physical contact, then leading people in huge numbers is going to be very difficult if you cannot lead them by inspiration. To inspire people to do whatever is required out of them, the very way you exist must be that kind of an example that people naturally stand up and want to do things that are necessary to be done. Only then leadership becomes an effortless process. 

A Leader Takes You Where You Cannot Imagine 

I think the biggest problem with the so-called leaders of the day is, we are not really producing leaders; we are just producing managers and supervisors. They come out as leaders and they suffer every moment of their life. They have petty ambitions; they want a piece of the planet. Some people want a big chunk, others want a small chunk. The size of what they can bite goes on increasing, but still it is a petty ambition because it is just an exaggeration of what you have already seen. You cannot desire something that you have not seen. You only desire something that you have seen – whether it is mildly exaggerated or overly exaggerated depends on who you are. 

But leadership is about being able to take a group of people, a nation, or the entire world in a direction and to a destination that they have not imagined possible. If it was something that they could have imagined, they do not need you. They need a leader who is capable of taking them to a place they themselves cannot imagine.

For this, a leader needs a profound sense of insight, that he is able to see something that other people cannot see. A leader means in some way you are sitting on a perch. If you sit on a perch and don’t see any better than others, you will become an object of ridicule. Only if you are seeing better than others, you are a natural leader; otherwise you are a forced leader, and everybody suffers you and you suffer them in turn. It’s an endless process of misery.


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If you believe that what you are doing is important, the most important thing in your life is to work upon yourself, to enhance your perception skills, to be able to see what others cannot see, to have an insight into what you wish to do. 


Editor's Note:  Sadhguru reveals the secret sauce for effective leadership in these five wisdom-packed nuggets. Approaching the subject from a completely different angle, he explains how leadership is not a means for dominance but a huge privilege and an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. In the content below, you will find a comprehensive answer to the basic question, “How can I become a good leader?”

Leadership and Management

Sadhguru explains the difference between a leader and a manager, encouraging one to move from merely doing a job to cultivating a deeper insight. In a profound poem about leadership, he expresses how leadership does not exist in nature and how everything is moved spontaneously by a certain force. He also shares an interesting perspective on how a leader must be able to find loopholes in their own intelligence.

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The Best Leadership Style

In this video, Sadhguru dismisses the notion of having a particular style of leadership, explaining that a leader’s actions must be relevant to the current situation around them. “There is no such thing as leadership style,” says Sadhguru in response to a question about his own leadership style, debunking the age-old myth of different styles of leadership.

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Qualities of Great Leaders

In an interview with Singapore’s Prestige magazine, Sadhguru describes the three essential qualities that a great leader requires in today’s world. He highlights the significance of economic leadership in coming times and the role of Corporate Social Responsibility in shaping a better world. He concludes by explaining how moving from compulsiveness to consciousness becomes even more significant when one is a leader because of the huge empowerment that it brings.

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Achieving Goals?

Both in corporations and management schools, setting and achieving goals is recognized as an important part of doing impactful work. Contradicting all commonly accepted notions, Sadhguru says that setting goals is a sure way to avoid new things from happening in one’s life. Wresting away the deeply entrenched mindset of being goal-oriented, he offers a simple method to enhance our lives without worrying about goals.

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Transformative Leadership

In this hard-hitting article, Sadhguru minces no words when he says that it is irresponsible for a leader to not be constantly striving for self-transformation. Rephrasing the definition of leadership as a possibility to transform many lives, he reveals that a leader need not be genius. All that is needed to be a transformative leader is integrity and insight.

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