World War II is appropriately called “Hitler’s war.” From early on in his political career, Adolf Hitler was known for his enthusiastic — sometimes even frenetic — style of speech-making. Germany was so extraordinarily successful in the first two years that Hitler came close to realizing his aim of establishing control over Europe.
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
― Adolf Hitler
He used his words to destroy any shred of doubt in his vision, his popularity or his ideals. He made his words his weapon of choice, and controlled crowds of millions against his enemies: Jews, Marxists, and foreign powers alike. He was a world-renowned orator, known for his exceptional knowledge and eloquent speech. His command over language, his rallying voice and his commanding tone; it all worked in his favor.
Martin Luther King, Jr., influenced people around the world, especially with his speech – “I Have a Dream” in 1963. In a time of civil unrest, King advocated for peaceful approaches to some of society’s biggest problems. He organized a number of marches and protests and was a key figure in the U.S. civil rights movement. His advocacy of peaceful protest has permeated into contemporary social justice movements.
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Subhash Chandra Bose was an Indian nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India, but whose attempt during World War II to rid India of British rule with the help of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan left a troubled legacy. He shook India to its core when he said “Give me blood and I will give you freedom”; a slogan that to this day reverbs in the minds of many. Another unforgettable speech for India would be “Quit India” by Mahatma Gandhi.
The speech could not be more different to Bose’s ‘Give Me Blood and I Will Give You Freedom.’ but it goes to show that there is more than one way to influence a nation. It was a revolutionary part of the non-violent movement, and a famous case for the word being mightier than the sword, influencing many discussions and decisions thereafter.
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do a thing you want done, because he wants to do it.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Leadership is one’s ability to influence others to perform a task successfully. Many people confuse leadership with authority, which is surely not the case. One does not need authority in order to be a leader; they must simply want to encourage others to unshackle their mental constraints for increased productivity. A leader cannot be made, the instinct must rise and grow within the individual itself; like a flower blooming. The want to lead your peers is natural, but the capabilities to lead others need to be acquired.
“Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”
– Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart.
A leader provides direction for a team and inspires others to perform well; by setting a positive example for others to follow. By complimenting a co-worker/ team member, by paying attention to what is bothering them at that very instant, by acknowledging subtle hints of lethargy and procrastination with positive affirmation and encouragement; an individual will find themselves adapting to the responsibility that comes with being able to alter another being’s perception. Such a realization will be an important door to the powerful world of leadership.
What can we do to become effective leaders?
- Communicate effectively
Every word you choose to use in a sentence has the power to construct or destruct. Choose your words carefully. Try to set daily tasks to incorporate positive words and phrases into your every-day conversations.
- Share your vision
Make your vision clear. Write, talk about and share your conviction in your ideology of leadership. Listen to and assimilate appropriate feedback when it is received, and encourage others to contribute to your dream.
- Motivate and Inspire
A true leader understands the needs and wants of the people they are working with, and encourages the individuals achieve their dreams and goals own their own.
- Recognize achievements
Your peers and co-workers are human too. As humans, we all crave recognition and praise above everything else. By acknowledging your co-workers’ peaks, working through their troughs becomes easier.
- Lead By Example
Put your money where your mouth is. Before you offer any piece of advice to anyone, make sure you follow that advice in the first place. If you want your co-workers to be punctual, ensure you are punctual all the time.
- Build, Know and coach your team
A leader is only as strong as his/ her team. Recruit people who have goals and aspirations in line with your vision, who would be willing to invest their efforts to further the cause for the benefit of all parties involved.
- Delegate wisely
Assess capabilities objectively. Identifying each person’s core skill set correctly will make it easier for you to align the required task with the skill set; allowing you to encourage them to grow multi-laterally while meeting SLAs.
- Behave appropriately
A lot of leaders let the power do the talking. Do not intimidate your co-workers. Do not feel entitled to certain changes in behavior or certain types of responses, or believe you deserve to be treated differently because of a designation.
- Empower Others
It is a leader’s duty to show them different ways of achieving the goals they have set for themselves. One that grows alone, may see the end of the rainbow; but will see it alone. Work with and for others, it will redefine your leadership.
- Make time for your family and your team
As your responsibilities as a leader grow, the time you have for yourself or for things important to you takes a hit. Maintain a good work-life balance, by taking time out of your schedule (even for a minute) and spend it with your co-workers.