Life Coach Mahendra Ingle
Published in Issue III, September 2013
Thanks to all readers for giving huge response to the first column on “Internal Leadership Development 1”. Where we discussed about story of “Mongoose – the Baby Sitter” and learnt from it. How actions taken based only on perceptions can harm or destroy the person who in fact is trying to protect you. We also discussed that in order to enjoy the fame and status of leader, he/she must be prepared to face the brutal negative impact, just in case the target is unable to achieve due to any reason.
During my life coaching experience, it is observed that developing any skill requires huge amount of patience and those looking for instant fame or quick acceptance by masses as leader fail in establishing their impact.
When it comes to self development of Internal Leadership Development, there is huge difference between knowing it, learning it and using the acquired leadership skills to benefit people and humanity. Like Learning A, B, C, D; Cycling and Swimming, the success and leadership skills are also learnable skills. Being a leader and developing leaders require different skill sets.
One of the key success factors to be a great leader is one’s ability to create and train budding leader and develop his immediate second line of leadership. This is very delicate skill any leader must acquire at the earliest. This reminds me of a mesmerizing story; of a little child, Cocoon and Butterfly. Once, little child Sunny was very curious to know how does butterfly come out of a cocoon. Enthusiastic father, took it literally, went to garden and brought few newly formed cocoons. Father placed these set of cocoons in the house. Excited Little sunny started to observe cocoon growth and to his surprise Cocoon started cracking to open and with lots of efforts and internal push, cute colourful butterfly emerged out and after few hops by flapping feathers butterfly started flying in free air and soon disappeared from the window. Similarly more such butterflies broke open the cocoon and flied happily. All this was happening in presence of Little Sunny’s parents. Still there was one cocoon to break open. One day when Sunny’s parents were out for shopping and Sunny was all alone in house. He was eager to know when last butterfly would break the cocoon to fly out. The moment came, cocoon started vibrating and butterfly head started coming out of cocoon. As little Sunny was along watching without parent’s supervision, he could not see butterfly in pain as her neck strangle in crack of cocoon walls.
Thinking to help the butterfly come out, little sunny rushed to kitchen and brought pair of scissor, tong and kitchen knife. The child loved the butterfly and due to this strong affection and feelings, he carefully held the cocoon with tongs and slowly started cutting open the cocoon crack created by the butterfly’s internal jerks.
The crack became wide and the butterfly came out easily. Because of little child’s assistance the last butterfly came out more faster in comparison to other previous butterflies who came out on their own, without any external support.
Butterfly started flying happily inside the house and joy of the child had no boundaries for he had saved life of a butterfly from being strangled in cocoon crack. And felt that butterfly became his friend and that’s the reason why she is not flying out of the room. Little Sunny was excited and eager to break this news of helping save the butterfly’s life to his parents. Late evening parents came, first time in his life little Sunny didn’t look at the shopping bags, gifts and eatables. He pushed aside all shopping bags and started narrating the whole story and was proud that he has helped save butterfly’s life. Parents were excited to know child’s love and sympathy towards butterfly. Parents appreciated Sunny’s efforts and complimented him for his gesture and said Sunny after dinner we will tell you about what will be the future of Butterfly you helped and said “Dear Sunny we love you and are proud of your concern”.
Sunny was first to finish dinner because he was curious to know that future of his buddy butterfly.
It was time to go for bed and story time. Little Sunny started listening to his father carefully. As mother was seated beside Sunny, Father cuddled Sunny in his arms and said with very soft and serious tone “Dear Sunny we love you and liked your nature to help butterfly come out, but…”
Sunny asked “But …what that…” Father says “Sunny next time don’t help butterfly to come out of cocoon”. Curious Sunny asks “But What Dad?” Father “Tell me, why people lift heavy weights in Gym” Sunny Says “Because their muscles become healthy and stronger”. Father says “Sunny, similarly as butterfly was trying to push internal walls of cocoon to come out, it was doing exercise to give strength to its tiny wings, to make them stronger so that she can fly with confidence”.
Sunny asks “Dad! Now what will happen to the butterfly which I helped? ”, Father “I am sorry Sunny, because you helped her to come out, her wings didn’t got that strength to fly high, she can hop and fly only small distance, look that’s the reason she is flying inside house, where was all previous butterflies were strong and flying high. In the process of your love and care and sympathy to help her, you made her weak and she does not have inner natural strength to fly high”. Sunny “I am sorry dad, I will never do it again”. Father “you did it out of love and care and you are innocent sunny. I am proud you learnt important lesson of life”. Sunny asks with confusion “Dad, can you explain me again what message I got to learn today?” Father “Ok listen carefully, helping others is good, but your help must not make that person handicapped and weak. Remember I do exactly the same when you learn bicycle, you get afraid and cry because I don’t always hold you as you learn to ride bicycle, because I want you to ride the bicycle alone with your own skills, strengths and internal confidence”. Sunny “Oh, now I understood. That’s the reason I came first in schools bicycle riding competition, on that risky turn on tracks many of my colleagues fell down as they were scared to ride with high speed and failed to balance. Because you made me self confident and stronger by making me fall in your presence during training session. Thank you, dad. I love you”… “Now I understood why teacher, mother and you don’t help me solve my all problems till final answer. Because you want make me strong, independent, performer and not weak dependent follower.”
“Dad I know my school friend Prajakta parents also do the same thing what you are trying to explain me”. Father “Yes, Sunny. Prajakta’s father is a good friend of mine. We both follow similar leadership training concepts, because we both want our child to become an independent leader in future”
In today’s global era, being a leader in oneself is not at all sufficient. If a person is successful in his / her lifetime and had millions of followers then when the charisma and influence of such leader fades away entire millions of followers are baffled, misguided and lost in confusion since second line of leadership is not created by such leader. Illustration: Nagpur is famous for Lemon / Sweet Lime/ Santra. The year in which farmer want to harvest fruits, he stops watering plants few months in advance. Now the divine power almighty nature knows this law of creating clone leaders of same nature. As there is question of survival, no water reaching to its roots, the plant decides to make delicious juice pulp around seeds. If plants are watered regularly it results in fruit is being not a tasty and vice versa. We have to learn from this nature’s law of creating second line of leadership (Seeds) in adversity for keeping the breed alive.
The individual leader’s personal love, greed, fears and insecurity makes him poor leader by not allowing him to generate second line of leadership. Personal greed because every leader feels that he must be the super power, no one must be stronger than him and only he should be sole leader. Such leader always wants weak followers. He always ensures that the second lines of leaders are not developed so that he has absolute control. Its leaders fear and insecurity. And last the butterfly helper too much love and affection to dear and near ones that they give them all comforts in life and can’t give them pains to learn and acquire skills to fight adversity. I have come across very few bold leaders who dare to develop strong second line of leadership. Majority of the leaders internal agenda is to develop mute followers where as public agenda is to develop leaders of society and corporate.
Existing default leader can be any senior member in team; example Father or Elder brother / Sister of family, Manager of a Department, Senior Position personality in organisation, Senior Chairperson by way of Government Designation, Seniority by age etc., Owner of kingdom or Business Empire. Etc
Future budding leader (second line) can be any junior team member such as Son, Daughter, Younger Brother, Assistant Manager of a Department, Junior Manager in organisation, younger ones, and default heir to huge hereditary kingdom or Business Empire earned by ancestors.
Too much interference by existing leaders; into new would be leaders working style is risky and it acts like little child cutting cocoon cracks open to help butterfly to come out. Most of Existing leaders have success syndrome and addiction to guide every junior, without understanding leadership needs of juniors. But in sharp contrast to it, In most cases where Senior Junior Relationship is longer than one year plus; Junior needs are to explore, experiment, learn by failures and they voluntarily go to senior for help when they are stuck or fail. Whereas the existing leadership want to guide junior leadership at every step and they want junior leaders to behave like a puppet.
Combination of above all could be the middle path of developing second line of leadership.
What is the action plan for generating new leaders?
Identify few possible future leaders in your family, organisation, department or society. Periodically expose them to adverse conditions. If senior leader can’t find adversity then deliberately create uncomfortable situations and see how junior budding leader reacts/responds to it. This I have tried on many occasions during various life coaching assignments and results are miraculous. Like genuine gold comes out bright shining after subjected fire, similarly genuine leader rises up from adverse conditions. We know that the metal during the destructive testing always examined for its quality under extreme conditions. I have seen many who’s who leaders failing in adverse conditions.
I have witnessed many pseudo brave leaders who crush to sweet powder of goody-goody nature, under pressure of extreme financial losses or become arrogant under huge psychological stress. We have record of cheap coward team leaders who enjoys being a team leader in good times of family / company / society and is the first to run away from tense, conflict situations amongst team members. Instead of being a bold leader he / she prefers to avoid the very root cause of conflict and goes hibernating during that tenure and like frogs in rainy season props up suddenly during happier times.
Conclusion is “Develop strong second line of leadership, similar to you or even stronger than you.”
From this third issue of Buddhist Voice I am starting interactive life coaching internal leadership grooming series. It is only for those who intent to participate in this practical, real time self leadership development program. You are welcomed only if you want to participate for your own leadership development. It’s a process of self enlightenment and then enlightening others. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Buddhist Voice Editor for future live training on internal leadership development.