Last week, I watched a Bollywood movie, Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. It depicts the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai, who fought against the East India Company during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. I was not only smitten by the bravery and boldness of the queen but also fascinated by the 3 significant traits she displayed as the leader of her people. If you are a leader or you desire to be one, developing these traits will make you stand out.
Gain the love and trust of your followers
It is necessary for a queen to stay indoors, be taken care of and be available whenever the king needs her. However, here, the queen was ready to go to the streets, meet the people and help them in times of need. A leader has followers, but if the followers are not taken care of, how will they follow? A great leader stands up, takes care of and mingles with the people he or she is leading.
In one scene, the queen and all her people are moved out of the palace by the enemies. The antagonist says, ‘you don’t have a palace or anything left to be a queen’. Looking straight into his eyes and with confidence in her voice, she replies, ‘the palace or the things within the palace do not make me the queen, but it is the love and trust of the people.’
Isn’t it true? If you don’t have the love and trust of your followers, can you call yourself a leader? Without their love and trust, you cannot shine as a leader. If you are there for the people when you have everything (name, fame and authority), they will be there for you even when you have nothing.
How to do this? Whether it is at work, church or home, the principle is the same: spend time with your people. If you don’t spend time with them or try to get to know them, you will never know what they are going through or what struggles they are having.
I am reminded of my parents, who are missionaries. I see a different level of passion that flows out from them. They have been through really hard times, and even today, the situations are not so favorable. In fact, there is no need for them to travel far and wide to minister to people anymore. Nevertheless, they do everything to visit families, pray for them and be there for them. In turn, during times of tribulation, the people are ready to help my parents.
Lead by example
During the final battle in the movie, the warrior spirit of the queen is evident. She leads her troops from the front. There is no sign of fear of the enemy or death itself. She makes her move first so that the others can follow.
Leaders don’t sit and give orders; they lead by example. If you want your people to do something, you not only show them how it’s done but also do it in the first place. In other words, you walk the talk. When you do that, you provide a reason for your people to be committed and loyal.
I have come across a few good leaders in my life. One of them is Mr Stanley Mehta, the former overseer of the Gateway Ministries International, India. He is a great leader. I admire him not only for his leadership skills but also for the charisma he carries with him. I have never worked under him anytime, but he has visited my church for a few programmes, seminars and classes. From my observation, I can say that he leads by example. I admire many things and one of them is time management. If there is a programme or seminar, he is there a few minutes earlier than the scheduled time. Whether anyone else is there or not, he is there. Seeing him there on time obviously makes the others want to be there too.
Equip people when needed
In one of the scenes, the queen realises that only a few hundreds of men are there to fight the battle. She decides to join all the women who are there in the town to enlarge the army. After talking to the women, she wins them over and the women get ready to fight. As a warrior, the queen is skilled enough, so she chooses to train all the people for battle.
As a leader, it is your duty to figure out the drawbacks of your team and find ways to work things out. If your people lack any skill, rather than removing them from the team, equip them for better results. Find out their strengths and weaknesses and give them opportunities to grow, which in turn will benefit your team.
My senior pastor, Mr Srikanth Christopher, is known for this. I have been under his leadership for almost 5-6 years and have seen the extent he goes to train and equip people. The training sessions have been beneficial in every way. He doesn’t like the one-man-show thingy; he desires to raise leaders. I believe there are quite a few men and women who have quickly understood his heart and have become leaders themselves.
As a leader, you have a number of responsibilities. You are expected to have several skills and qualities to keep that position. Don’t let your responsibilities stress you out or boost your pride. If you want to stand out, work on these three areas. Trust me, no one stop you from shining bright.
If you are a leader or you have been under a great leader, what traits make you or your leader stand out? Please feel free to share them in the comment section.