Ms. Vinita Bali started her address by defining leaders as “people who believe in who they are, have a vision of the future, never give up, create around them a group of energetic people to share their dream and then proceed to fulfill the dream jointly”. Excerpts from her speech follow –
Story of Thimmakka:
Ms. Bali opined that, even though the general understanding of leadership is confined to the context of politics and large corporations, it is a phenomenon that surrounds us everywhere and can be observed in people all around us. To take an example, she narrated the story of Thimmakka, an ordinary villager in Karnataka who turned an environmentalist when she planted nearly 400 trees along the highway.
Each of you is a leader. Wherever you are, reflect and remember that, anything you do in life is largely determined by you
On effectiveness in leadership, she said that effective leaders have the ability to communicate and importantly, share their dreams with others. They make sure that people around them are aligned and have a clear sense of their priorities. People succeed because of hard work and discipline and luck has a strange habit of favoring those who work hard.On being a woman and a successful leader,
Leadership has certain characteristics that are same across genders. We all compete in the same industry and for the same resources. What creates success is a function of your ability and not age, gender or ethnicity.
Leadership styles are contextual. Sometimes, instant decisions are warranted, at other times, a reflective or a consensual style might be needed.
Leadership is something that is very palpable. The key characteristic is an integrity of purpose; without that, anything that is done is unlikely to endure. Oscar Wilde said,
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someones else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions, a quotation
Instead of living such a life, we should be genuine and operate with integrity. There is nothing enduring about strategy; there is nothing fixed about the way, a business is or should be, whereas authenticity, value and character have the ability to endure. She concluded her address by saying that, we should have a healthy sense of curiosity and invest in ourselves as that is the only thing, we’ll carry along everywhere.
We were left with a profound clarity of thought and a lucid idea of what exactly, leadership is! I am sure, no extent of poring over textbooks on management would have ever given us such an understanding!!