By Sneheel Biswal:
“The world has its fair share of problems”
I’m sure you must have heard or said these words quite often. I know I have. And it’s quite funny, how that’s all a lot of people do about the world’s ‘problems’. They talk about it. Because that’s the farthest a lot of people are willing to go. And therein lays the difference between a leader and a follower. Where the comfort zone of an average Joe ends, that is where the adventure for a leader starts.
And yet, the funny part is that they are not as different as you think they are.
Often, the end outcome or the success is what gets highlighted. The massive crowds clapping for someone smiling a million dollar smile on stage speaking into a microphone.
Confetti in the air.
Beaming, admiring people with hearts for eyes.
The stereotype of a leader.
What is missed out here is the journey; what built up to that moment. All those people who are not on that stage, the people without whose efforts it would have been impossible.
And that is where the fundamental mindset shift needs to come. A leader is not a messiah or a superhero who comes in to save the day. A leader is a mere gear in a complex gear mesh that enables all the other gears to move in perfect harmony to provide forward motion and progress. A person who is there to serve his/her team to the best of his/her abilities so that the team gets to where they want to go and everybody grows in the process. The time of one person of authority giving instructions to the ‘subordinates’ is gone. The time is for a leader to be a part of a community of problem solvers and use his/her experience to drive them to achieve their full potential and solve the problem.
And the best part about this system is that everybody is a leader here. The ownership of a team or an organization’s success and health is possessed by every single person.
We are moving into an era of people. It is not the one charismatic leader but the collective effort of many such leaders who can usher change. That anybody can step in and do ‘impossible things‘. Change the world.
We at Make A Difference (MAD) firmly believe in this methodology of ‘Servant Leadership‘. We believe that real change will happen when you initiate and facilitate the inner transformation of people. We want to make sure that every child at risk is able to realize and unleash his/her full potential. Support them with education, life skills and the necessary tools that they require to lead a healthy, self sufficient life. Empower and enable them to go above and beyond in every sphere of life. Serving a cause that is bigger than us. And the transformations that come about are enlightening.
Often, there are so many stories of volunteers who have undergone a massive change after having interacted with their children. But, the most inspiring is the story of one of the first children that MAD taught, Jobish Matthew. Back in June 2012, a couple of days before he was supposed to fly to the US to join his college, he visited his centre, YMCA Boys’ home to talk to the smaller kids there. With his teachers standing in the crowd, he beams and says, “Dream big. Always. You never know how and when they come true!”
People walk in to classes as teachers, but leave having learnt and experienced more than they have taught the children. And that makes a leader-Someone who is nurturing and supportive; someone who can be the driving force that catalyzes change; someone who can be the wind beneath someone’s wings and help them soar, soar high.
A lone wolf never survives. It needs a community of wolves, a pack, to sustain and grow. Similarly, one single person can never change the world. They may have ideas. But, they need a community of like-minded, driven individuals to come together and contribute in various capacities for real change to happen, to solve a problem; because in the history of mankind, all the great movements across the world needed a community to come together and make efforts. And things changed.
Are you ready to be a part of the new wave of leaders? Can you nurture, empower and enable a community? If yes, then this is your calling. Get up. Start a conversation. Come together. Because hey, after all, it starts with us!