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Ideal Leadership Dada Maheshvarananda The knowledge of leadership has greatly developed during the last few decades

, both in activist circles and, especially, in the business world.1 A position of leadership gives one an unusual degree of influence over others, but that influence may be either positive or negative. Studies in capitalist enterprises show that the actions of the leader account for up to 70 percent of employees' perception of the climate of their organization. Great leaders are forged through great struggle. Oppression and imprisonment have molded great leaders of modern times, such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X from the United States, Andrei Sakharov from Russia, Anwar Sadat from Egypt, Vaclev Havel from Czech Republic, Aung San Suu Kyi from Burma, Rigoberta Menchú from Guatemala, Xanana Gusman from Timor and Nelson Mandela from South Africa. The path of revolution is the most difficult path of all, and on it we will encounter greater and greater risks and challenges. However, the greatest enemies that we will face are our inner enemies and bondages: our complexes, weaknesses and fears. We are all afraid of failure and of looking bad in front of others. On this path, we will eventually find ourselves confronted with whatever things we fear - we need to courageously face these fears and overcome them. Our inner work of a leader is very important. The process of autoanalysis is essential to our inner progress, evaluating our mistakes each day and struggling to overcome our defects. The downfall of many revolutionaries is the desire for small comforts and security. The powerful spirit of spiritual struggle can help to overcome such desires. Rather than avoiding physical and psychic clashes, we need to confront them and embrace them for our personal transformation and development. There is an ancient truth that what we despise in others, the qualities that we hate, are actually within us. Every human being has the same mental propensities. People naturally tend to project what they hate within themselves onto others, seeing those who disagree with them as enemies, and getting into heated arguments and bitter conflicts. Projection is a trick that the mind plays to avoid facing the enemies within. There is a way that you can look for this tendency in yourself. Think of someone or some people with whom you have the greatest difference of opinion. They may have done something wrong; you or others may have felt hurt by their actions. But if you feel emotions of hatred or anger or superiority when you meet them, then that is a problem that you have to confront and overcome. While we may disagree with someone's actions, and while we should fight against immorality and injustice, we must not confuse the actions with the person. PR Sarkar the founder of PROUT counseled that, "Even while dealing with persons of inimical nature, one must keep oneself free from hatred,

anger and vanity." The feeling of jealousy should be overcome by super-imposing the idea of friendliness towards that person. Hatred should be overcome by compassion and forgiveness, envy by praise and encouragement. This is certainly not easy, but it is fundamental. True leaders empower others to be great. They encourage and praise their accomplishments. Such leaders know that "who I am" does not depend on "what I do", or on titles or positions. As loving parents are proud of the accomplishments of their children, these leaders show joy when others become great, too. Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Effective leaders must develop what Daniel Goleman calls "emotional intelligence". This concept explains how some people may be brilliant intellectuals, with vast knowledge and skills, yet still be unable to understand, or be sensitive to the impact of their actions on others. Those who lack emotional intelligence are unaware of how others feel. Ideal leaders are "visionary," "coaching" and "democratic," and rarely use the less effective "pace-setting" and "commanding" styles.2 Most people communicate more easily with others from the same cultural background. Yet in the struggle to change the world, we will have to live and work with people from different races, cultures and nations. Cultural clashes, translation difficulties, misunderstandings, disagreements about values and different ways of seeing the world are very real phenomena that many leaders must confront every day. Neohumanism teaches us that we must overcome false superiority based on geo-sentiments and socio-sentiments. Ideal leaders treat all people as their brothers and sisters, dealing fairly with everyone based on principles and individual merit. Field Marshal Mackenshaw from the modern Indian Army says something interesting. He advises what is also appropriate for revolutionaries: "If you push yourself even harder than your soldiers, and if you don't take yourself too seriously, they will follow you anywhere." Another important principle for all leaders is to set an example by individual conduct before asking others to do the same. Unfortunately some leaders become arrogant. They feel that because their cause is the greatest, therefore they are the greatest, too; but this is not necessarily so. Arrogant leaders lack sensitivity, caring little for the feelings and values of others. True leadership means that instead of developing ego, we develop humility. A leader who is humble gives joy and inspiration to others. Everyone likes and respects a humble person, but nobody likes nor respects an arrogant person. Leaders who are insecure are threatened by the success of others. Some men feel threatened by the achievements of women and may even try to put obstacles in their path to diminish their success. Insecure leaders, both men and women, often become fiercely competitive, viewing the progress of another project as a humiliation of them. Though healthy internal competition can inspire people to work harder, we also

need the spirit of coordinated cooperation. Insecure leaders are also afraid of losing control. They are afraid to hear complaints or criticism, of doing things a new way, of challenge and change. They are afraid of failure. They do not realize that we can learn from every failure, that every unsuccessful effort is an opportunity for our personal and collective growth. They fear that admitting a mistake and apologizing for it will mean a loss of face. On the contrary, an honest apology for an error along with a willingness to make up for it, whether it was done knowingly or not, heals hurt feelings and often increases our esteem in the eyes of our peers and the public. How to Inspire Others and How to Inspire Yourself Inspiration is vital for revolutionaries. We receive no material compensation at all. The only fuel we can get to serve others and to sacrifice for a noble cause is inspiration. Without it we feel like giving up. How can I inspire new people to join this struggle? How can I inspire my fellow activists to carry on? And, most important, how can I inspire myself? There are several ingredients for inspiration. 1. Intuitional Practices: Daily meditation strengthens our mind and opens us to the source of all inspiration and wisdom. The more time we devote to it, the more we feel inexplicable peace and joy. The company of other spiritualists also helps immensely to keep the mind inspired and growing. 2. Positive Outlook: From a spiritual perspective, all obstacles and difficulties help us to reach our goal. Both individually and organizationally, we learn more when things go wrong. We should never allow ourselves to become discouraged when we suffer a loss. By redoubling our efforts, we can make it up. 3. Enthusiasm: To inspire, we must be dynamic, cheerful and full of energy. When we speak to others in an exciting and dramatic way, we can transfer some of the thrill and exhilaration of this incredible movement to change the world. There is an old French saying: "Miracles happen to those who believe in them." We need to open our eyes to the fantastic adventure that is taking place all around us everyday. 4. Actively Collect and Communicate Good News from Around the World: >From the dawn of our species, human beings want to belong to a big group. Being part of a popular movement gives a feeling of success and security. Yet our humble efforts sometimes seem too insignificant to have any effect on our local community, what to speak of changing the world. It is only when we expand our vision to see all the efforts and projects in every country of the world that we can realize how large the global effort to make a better world is growing. By hearing and telling others of the successes of our movement, we can realize how strong we really are. This is an ongoing, life-long process.

5. Invite Creative Expression: Our collective struggle demands that we use all the potential we have. Recognizing that different people have diverse experiences and abilities, we should invite them to express their talents in a creative way. When people are allowed to discuss freely and frankly, to ask sincere questions to their heart's content, they can learn and develop more in the spirit of Neo- Humanism. New ideas and new ways of doing things, if carefully planned, breathe fresh life into tired activists and generate enthusiasm. And the resultant new experiences will challenge and empower people to take risks and overcome their fears. 6. Laugh Together: There is an old proverb, "If you take yourself too seriously, no one else will." A good sense of humor is one of the loveliest qualities that spiritual leaders can have. Those who spent time with Sarkar remember well how often he lightened our feelings with a funny story or sweet joke. Sometimes he made us laugh so hard that our sides hurt and tears came to our eyes. Always his jokes were an invitation for everyone to relax and laugh together as one family. So, considering the above, socio-spiritual visionaries who have risen above their class interests (whether economic, social or psychological) can smooth society's progress. Their role is as working in the "nucleus" of the social cycle, assisting each group to develop and lead society in turn. As soon as signs of social decay or exploitation appear, the revolutionary must apply sufficient force to accelerate the transition to the next phase of the collective psychology of society, thus decreasing periods of turmoil. Prout's model of leadership seeks to harness the dynamic forces of humanity in a positive way. Prout utilizes the individual and collective potentials on all levels - physical, psychic, social and spiritual - and synthesizing them to create an ever more progressive and vibrant society. Endnotes: 1 See Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky (Vintage Books, New York, 1989); Organizing for Social Change: Midwest Academy Manual for Activists by Kimberley Bobo et al (Seven Locks Press, 2001); Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman et al (Harvard Business School, Cambridge, 2002); The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1990). 2 Ibid.