When we speak of leaders, we talk of many things. We speak of their intelligence and ability to foresee consequences of their actions. We admire their ability to influence and  inspire. We respect them for their capability to steer the team towards success. But above all, one key parameter would be to see if people feel it safe to approach them and share their concerns and ideas.

 There are some who take pride in the fact that those below them are scared of them. They mistake this fear for respect, not realizing that respect is something that is earned, not something that is demanded.  They rule with an “iron fist”, believing that they are always right. The followers in turn become silent observers, and do not offer their perspectives and ideas on issues. The result is that the leader may end up making narrow and faulty decisions that eventually lead to failure.

A truly great leader on the other hand encourages his/her followers to speak and contribute. Such a leader is a good listener, who is able to bring together different perspectives. This is what makes them not only successful but admirable too.

 The attitude of “approachability” however is a surface phenomenon. It is the result of a deep respect that these leaders have for their team members and the humility that they demonstrate that allows anyone to feel safe in approaching them. The attached weekstarter describes an incident in the life of one such great leader.

Welcome to the weekstarter and we wish you all an exciting week ahead.

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