People long to be a part of something that makes a difference; that transcends the ordinary. People need to be led to follow a compelling mission, to find a reason for being, and to discover one’s purpose. A great leader is one who is able to provide a mission, offer motivation, and exude purpose (Hesselbein & Cohen, 1999). The ultimate leader is about the ability to lead followers in a way that provides support, inspiration, and admiration. The following paper will illustrate ultimate leadership with Mohandas Ghandi as the model.
Power and influence will be explained as fundamental components of effective leadership. Examples of operative leadership values and traits will be provided. Foundational to leading others is a certain behavior characteristic in the ultimate leader. This paper will explain how followers reacted to Ghandi’s type of leadership, as well as the effects. Ghandi was a spiritual leader of India, yet his leadership penetrated throughout the world. Ghandi, the Ultimate Leader ‘Imitation is the sincerest flattery’ is one of Ghandi’s famous quotes.
Honored as the Father of the Nation, Ghandi was a renowned spiritual leader in India and a leading advocate for non-violence. His ability to lead was accomplished using non-violence to achieve his goals. He was an inspirational leader fighting for anti-discrimination. His weapon of choice was his outstanding leadership. His strength shined through innate power and influence, sincere leadership traits, values, and behaviors. Ghandi was known as a man of integrity (Bilgrami, 2001). Ghandi’s innate ability to lead taught the world many valuable lessons.
As a transformational leader, Ghandi was able to move people to do extraordinary accomplishments (Bilgrami, 2001). As a man of integrity, his strength was proven not through physical force, but through actions, words, and other non-violent means. The message his actions portrayed were that a true leader does not need to coerce his followers, for his followers want to walk their leader’s path. A prevailing leader tells the truth and offers courage to stand beside his men, not above them. Ghandi’s followers reacted to him because they sensed his sincerity, honesty, and genuine interest in improving their country.
Ghandi had an amazing ability to help people understand a vision that does not need physical constraints, rather by sharing a vision that offers values and standards that people may identify with. Ghandi showed people his confidence in them, as well as his admiration for them as human beings (Humphrey, 2002). Ghandi was the ultimate leader because he exuded social responsibility, morality, and proved that he was serving the greater good (Waldman, Balthazard, & Peterson, 2011). Power and Influence Power and influence create opportunities for growth and are leading elements in effectual leadership.
People reacted to Ghandi’s power and influence because of the way he projected power and radiated influence in non-violent methods. While one may assume that power and influence is a process for control, Ghandi saw it as an opportunity for change. The people of India were experiencing harsh discrimination, which Ghandi himself also experienced (Bilgrami, 2001). As Bass (1990) explained, power and influence strategy are a method used by leaders to offer support. For an example, a leader who creates a powerful and guiding coalition also supports the people, the vision, and the mission.
Ghandi exerted power by empowering people; by helping others realize opportunity for positive change. Ghandi was a servant leader and a transformational leader. His natural abilities were to serve others through influential and powerful leadership by transforming the way the people of India were being treated (Huges, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2009). Another strategy that Ghandi used that people responded well to was providing a touch of autocratic leadership. For instance, people appreciate structure and in a time of uncertainty, appreciate consistency from their leaders.
The people of India responded well to Ghandi’s charisma, grace, and faith. They appreciated his rational persuasion and inspirational appeals, as described by Huges, Ginnett, & Curphy (2009. Though power seems like it would be best attained through external measures, true power and influence is gained by discerning people’s needs and showing them their own sense of power (Huges, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2009). Ghandi attained this through charismatic words and positive non-verbal communication (Bass, 1990).
As noted, an ultimate leader may be referenced as, “he who has great power should use it lightly” (Huges, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2009, p. 40). One may consider Ghandi’s power a referent power, as he was admired by his followers. Leadership and Values Ghandi’s values were likely a major contributing factor to the way the people of India reacted to his Ghandi’s leadership. Part of a leader’s responsibility is to understand followers needs, determine a strategy, and determine which factors would benefit the situation. In the situation occurring in India, Ghandi honored the culture. According to Bass (1990), leaders inspire followers by responding to their emotions. In the situation in India, a balance was necessary.
The ultimate leader provides courage, passion, and imagination to show their people the honorary value of leadership. An effective leader understands values and priorities, as Huges, Ginnett, and Curphy (2009) explain. A true leader does the right thing, not just what is expected. Ghandi had the courage to do the right thing, as he showed by standing behind his assertion that non-violence is the preferred method. A true leader must believe in the case he is supporting by being a model, or his followers will not believe. As Ghandi was a selfless and honorable leader, he inspired his followers to lead and ethical life (Bilgrami, 2001).
The four qualities described by Bennis and Goldsmith (as cited by Huges, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2009) that beget trust are empathy, consistency, integrity, and focus on vision. An ultimate leader must first demonstrate a compelling vision. Followers need something to look to; to follow. A vision helps followers believe in a goal and a shared belief. Next, an effectual leader shows empathy to his followers by understanding how they feel and what they are experiencing. Ghandi could understand the discrimination the people of India were experiencing, because he was discriminated against, too.
A true leader must also be consistent with his word. Followers need to trust a leader and trust begins with providing consistency. At last, an ultimate leader will exude integrity by remaining strong in the face of adversity. Ghandi showed that he was true to a higher power and that his commitment to his people was unwavering. Leadership Traits Such characteristics as intelligence, level of emotional intelligence, and personality are attributes that make an ultimate leader (Huges, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2009). Ghandi’s followers reacted to the effects of these leadership traits by exuding loyalty and commitment.
In other words, Ghandi’s leadership traits helped influence his followers to lead a life of non-violence. Ghandi’s personality follows Huges, Ginnett, and Curphy’s Five Factor Model (FFM) and also helps to explain his follower’s commitment. The positive attributes of this model that Ghandi also shared were surgency, dependability, agreeableness, adjustment, and intellectance. Ghandi modeled surgency by expressing self-confidence, ambition, and the desire to positively influence others. He asserted dependability and agreeableness by showing that he was earnest, took commitments seriously, and avoided violence.
Ghandi’s followers responded well to his level of adjustment and intellectance with the FMM, as he practiced self-control and had a healthy level of emotional intelligence. Effective leaders, such as Ghandi, combine shrewd analysis, incorporate strategy, and use emotional intelligence with their followers. Their leadership traits are borne of sound critical thinking skills, good team building, and creativity (Humphrey, 2002). For instance, a creative leadership trait is experienced by practicing intrinsic motivation and stimulating followers.
The concept of personality and leadership traits may come from the great man theory or other psychological theories supporting the importance of personality traits in good leaders (Bass, 1990). Leadership Behavior Another critical component to ultimate leadership is a leader’s behavior. A leader’s behavior concerning any situation directly influences his follower’s behavior and level of motivation. Ghandi’s followers reacted well to his behavior as he was clam, collected, and confident in his abilities to help the people of India stand against the discrimination (Bilgrami, 2001).
An ultimate leader will influence and motivate followers with positive behaviors that help sustain group loyalty, sustain group satisfaction, and help followers keep an eye on the goal (Waldman, Balthazard, & Peterson, 2011). For an example, cognitive theories support that what leaders do and what leader’s focus on are related to leadership behavior. A leader who is focused and dedicated to the greater good will likely impels behaviors conducive to the greater goal (Bass, 1990). A leader’s desires and faith will be expressed most directly through his behavior.
A leader’s behavior affects others. As Huges, Ginnett, and Curphy (2009) explained, followers look up to a good leader. There is an exchange relationship between leader and follower as the leader’s behavior radiates through his actions. Followers were attracted to Ghandi’s charismatic leadership behavior and gravitated toward his self-belief. As Humphrey (2002) asserted, a self-believer is a positive behavior characteristic that genuinely holds the credence that good will prevail. Ghandi’s self-belief encouraged the people of India to believe in themselves and the greater good.
It also helped the people to believe that their goals could be reached without the force of violence. Conclusion People look to leaders for guidance and direction. Effective leaders look for opportunities for change (Walman, Balthazard, & Peterson, 2011). Inspirational leaders motivate followers by presenting a better future. The ultimate leader will successfully escort his followers toward positive growth. This paper described the ultimate leader, Ghandi, as a model. This paper illustrated how an effective leader will lead followers by providing upport, inspiration, and purpose. This paper used Ghandi as the model leader who demonstrated attributes of the ultimate leader.
Power and influence were presented as foundational elements of effective leadership. Examples of leadership values and traits were also presented. Certain behavioral characteristics are found in leaders such as Ghandi, the ultimate leader. This paper described how followers reacted to Ghandi’s leadership style and also discussed the effects. An ultimate leader offers followers a gift, the gift of profound leadership.