The Why of Leadership

  • Blog By
    Dr. Shivkumar Chinnusamy
    Managing Director
    The Indian Public School
    May 27, 2020 | In Blog

Leaders generally think, act and communicate differently when compared to others. There is always a question of nature verses nurture, whether leaders are born or they become one. There is enough evidence that one can become a leader with self-learning and self-discipline. It is very difficult for someone to work directly on changing his or her personality but if you modify your behaviour and practise it for some time, it becomes your personality.

Most people think and communicate in this order: WHAT – HOW – WHY

However, leaders communicate the other way round:

  • WHY
  • HOW
  • WHAT

For instance, we can take the example of Apple MacBook laptops and other brands. All other brands have the same kind of resources in terms of technology, capital and skilled workforce like Apple. But, why does Apple drive the market while other brands find it hard to sustain?

It is because the other brands communicate the WHAT, followed by the HOW and WHY. They say:

“We make laptops.” – WHAT

“We make it using state-of-the art technology and with exquisite design.” – HOW

“Buy our product because it is going to change the future.” – WHY

Whereas, Apple communicates by saying:

“Everything we do, we believe that we change the status quo. We believe in thinking differently and offer the best experience for our users.” – WHY

“The way we change status quo is by designing a user-friendly product with state-of-the-art technology and exquisite design” – HOW

“We happened to make laptops, want to buy one?” – WHAT

You can see how a simple way of thinking, acting and communicating makes a difference to the buyer’s perception. People don’t buy your product or service because of WHAT YOU DO, they buy because of the purpose, WHY YOU DO IT.

In a similar context, the goal of a leader or an organization is not to hire people for the job alone, but to hire people who believe in what you believe and also make your workforce believe in what you believe. Once they start believing, they will work with their heart and soul. This will increase productivity and also help retain your best workforce.

WHY is the belief, vision, cause or a purpose. As a leader, it is imperative that you find a cause. Leaders generally find a cause that is greater than themselves that makes a difference to the world. There is only a handful of visionaries in this world, so you need not create your purpose but just find one and align to your thoughts.

Similarly, communicate your WHY so that people feel worthy working in your organization and that they are making a difference and making progress.

Great leaders inspire people, show them the way and create the future. The future lives in the minds of people, and leaders create in the minds of people that they have the support and can fight back even in the worst of times.

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