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LEADERSHIP: What Is It and How to Deal with It? [Part One]

DR.PASHA | August 18, 2003 | Section: Articles | 2075 reads

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Use of Urdu Expressions

Urdu expressions are used in this book to tag leadership styles and types. It is in recognition of the fact that Urdu language and culture are highly evocative and full of expression, irony, elegance and wit.

For example, the richness and depth of meaning that the word Gadha conveys when applied to ineptitude and incompetence are in a class of their own.

Literally, the word Gadha means donkey. But in common usage it typifies a certain level of incompetence and ineptitude, possibly benign in nature but quite destructive, nevertheless, in its impact and outcome, that provoke a rich mix of censure, condemnation, pity and derision in the user.

The word Himar in Arabic, also meaning donkey and often used for similar purposes, comes only second to the Urdu Gadha in sheer impact and richness of connotation.

The English word idiot could also be serviceable for the same purposes – but, in my view, only next to the Urdu Gadha and quite possibly next to the Arabic Himar.

Idiot, however, has proved its resilience as an effective marketing tool for certain educational and technical products such as a guidebook for idiots or dummies or an idiot-proof product or method – including possibly calculus or physics.

The Urdu word Chore is even harder to replace in any other language. The English equivalent thief or the Arabic counterpart Liss take only a second place as literary replacements to the Urdu Chore – and a distant one at that.

The word crook, however, does an adequate job in English of capturing the core meaning of Urdu Chore.

The expression Gadha, as it is used in this book, refers to the qualities of the head such as lack of intelligence, foresight and smartness.

The word Chore, on the other hand, refers to the qualities of the heart and character, such as duplicity, corruption and lack of integrity.

The Arabic expression Kha-in has basically a similar connotation. It is an omnibus term that could be used to refer to someone who is generally untrustworthy and duplicitous and whose character is seriously flawed on a broad index of integrity and honesty.

However, from the point of view of developing a common sense-based typology of leadership, the two models Gadha and Chore often, though not always, present themselves as two ends of a fulcrum.

This does not mean there is necessarily an inverse relationship between the two leadership types in all cases. Nor does it mean that a leader could only be one of the two, either a crook or an idiot.

But generally speaking, people – those whom the leadership purports to lead – find themselves having to choose between two alternative explanations of disastrous results.

Was it stupidity that caused this debacle – any injurious or negative outcome – they ask themselves and each other, or was it corruption?

For example, when bad things happen to a group, organization, community, nation or society, the question often becomes one of choice between explanations: Is this the result of leadership being Gadha (inept and idiotic) or its being Chore (crooked and corrupt)?

This means, did leadership simply bungle up due to ineptitude and incompetence, or did it deliberately set out to pursue actions and policies that were to its own personal benefit and that were at the same time to the detriment of those it purports to lead?

Often the answers are not easy to find.

Naturally, the best or ideal leadership is one that combines the finest qualities of both head and heart. That is smart, honest as well as hardworking.

But such a happy combination is not always easy to find.

It goes without saying that where all these qualities come together, the followers stand to benefit tremendously. And where they don’t, the followers stand to lose.

The world suffers because of leaders that lack one or the other of these qualities – leaders who are either Gadha or Chore – or Sust (lazy). Or those who pretend to be Shahenshah.

Hopefully, clarifying some of these ideas in this book would help readers to better understand their leadership and work to improve their leadership situations.


What Really is Leadership?

Literature search, anyone? Well, that is what this section is.

You can go find your own books, journal articles or conference papers. Your own set of references, so to speak.

I have culled ideas from several sources to offer a synopsis of leadership ideas and models.

So, what is leadership anyway?

Who are the leaders?

Are leaders born or are they made through proper parenting, education and training?

Is leadership an omnibus trait – a one-size-fits-all kind – or are their different leadership types depending on tasks and situations?

Which leader should we support?

What type of leaders should we try to be when we ourselves are in a position to provide leadership?

Is leadership a talent?

Is it part of a person’s innate character?

Is it what is called a personality trait of some kind? Is it a personality type?

Is leadership something you are born with, something you inherit? Is it all in the genes? Does it all come from our ancestors?

Or is it a matter of training and education, of teaching and learning, of access and opportunity?

Who knows how many Jack Welches (General Electric’s former CEO and an acknowledged leader in his field), Winston Churchills, Abraham Lincolns and Bill Gates (the Microsoft mogul) may be lying hidden in the ghettoes, shantytowns and poverty-stricken villages of the world?

And then do leaders create their own avenues and opportunities or are they simply individuals who ride the crest of access to glory?




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