Can leaders change themselves? The title does not bestow upon you leadership qualities. 4
“The title does not bestow upon you leadership qualities. One can be an amazing leader without ever having a title. A great leader makes themselves progressively redundant. They make themselves useless and the followers take over and do a better job.” Professor Sanjiv Chopra. Leadership. You wrote a best-selling book “Leadership by example”. You gave, to wide acclaim, a lecture more than hundred times around the world that is called “Leadership for the 21st century: the tenets of leadership”. You said that “Great managers do things right. Great leaders do the right things” [Peter Drucker]. But a great leader can also take the country backwards or take a business backwards, not necessarily forward. There are many examples where strong leaders ruin their businesses and even their countries. Is leadership a static quality? Dr. Anton Titov, MD. Can leaders change where they lead to and how they lead? Can leaders change themselves? Dr. Anton Titov, MD. Or must you always change leaders to change the direction, be it a country or a business?Terrific, great questions! Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, MD. I have always been fascinated by leaders and great leadership moments in history. We should first start by maybe defining leadership. I would define leadership as the ability to articulate a vision and walk the path such that it inspires other people to rise above the banality and strife of their common day existence and achieve a higher and common goal. The title “leader” does not bestow upon anyone leadership qualities. Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, MD. Somebody can be the CEO, they can be a Chancellor, they can be the Vice President, they can be the President, they can be a Senator, they can be a Congressman, they can be the Prime Minister. They can have all these amazing leadership titles. But they are not leaders. The title does not bestow upon you leadership qualities. One can be an amazing leader without ever having a title, right? The definition of a great leader is somebody who makes himself or herself progressively redundant. They make themselves useless and the followers take over and do a better job. Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, MD. Leadership is a fascinating topic, it is a very dynamic topic. It turns out that leaders are not necessarily born. Everyone can cultivate the elements of leadership. In my book and in my talks, I talk about the ten tenets of leadership. The quote that you mentioned earlier, we need both managers and leaders. One can be an amazing manager but not a good leader. One can be a great leader and not a good manager. Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, MD. This is Peter Drucker, the management guru. He said. “Managers do things right, leaders do the right things”. I had a discussion with Dipak Jain, he is a legendary individual who was the Dean of the Kellogg School of Management in Illinois. It is one of the leading five MBA programs in the world. Once Time business magazine rated it to be a number one school in the world. Then he was also the Dean at INSEAD in Europe. This is also one of the leading 5 – 10 business schools in the world. I asked Dipak, I said. “Dipak, what’s the difference between managers and leaders?” He had a wonderful definition. He said: “Managers are for today, leaders are for tomorrow.” They have a compelling vision of the future. They can articulate it and get their followers to achieve the goal and work together. Leader leads from behind. Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, MD. We can cultivate leadership in many different ways. In my book I talk about the 10 tenets of leadership. When I give this talk at transplant centers, surgical Grand Rounds, medical Grand Rounds, radiology CEO clubs. I talk to different groups. People often say “How can we incorporate this? What you have just taught us”. I say “Take one of the tenets, make it a goal in your company, make it a goal in your transplant center. That for the next week, you’ll be a better listener. That is the first tenet of leadership by example. L is for listening. Then at the end of a week share your experience. The following week: empathy. You are just going to be more kind and more compassionate. The following week have a little 10 minute meeting and discuss, how did it feel to be kinder to your patients, to the families. Then you will start to live it by example. There’s an amazing story of Gandhi, where this lady walks from a village about 40 miles with a twelve-year-old son and she says “Gandhi-ji, my boy, my son eats too much sugar, he’s gaining a lot of weight. Would you please tell him not to eat sugar, it is not good for him”. Gandhi looks at the boy, looks at the mother. He says: “Come back in three weeks.” Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, MD. They go back to the village. Three weeks later they again march forty miles. They arrive and Gandhi looks at the boy and he says: “Son, don’t eat sugar – it is not good for you, you are gaining too much weight”. The boy says “Gandhi-ji, from this moment I will stop eating sugar”. He starts to leave the room. The mother stays behind and she says: “Gandhi-ji, thank you for saying that to my son. But can I ask you a question? We were here three weeks ago and you could have said the same thing to my son then!” Gandhi whispers into her ear: “At that time I had not given up sugar.” Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, MD. You have to lead by example! That’s a fascinating story, it is remarkable! Yeah, remarkable! But Gandhi led by example and that is what the great leaders do. In big questions and in small. Yes!
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