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Gandhi A Real Leader Essay

2017 words - 9 pages

Historically, leadership has evolved from leader to people centered; this leap has paved the way for emerging, organic leadership. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (later Mahatma Ghandi) was one of the few leaders at the time who exercised his power with the people, not over the people and others lead by his example (Ghandi, 1927). Through his leadership of the Indian National Congress he led India to independence and inspired like movements of freedom universally (Ghandi, 1927). His practice of nonviolence, noncooperation, pacifism and protests greatly influenced outstanding leaders of the time such as Martin Luther King Jnr. and nonviolent protests were evident around the world (Crawford, 1999). It was the political and social climate in South Africa and India at the time prompted Ghandi to emerge as a figurehead for his community. His vast knowledge and judgment on discrimination and law provided him with a social conscious and the support of his followers (Gandhi, 1927). In 1869, he was born into the Bania caste in India where at the time civil unrest was commonplace. From his grandfather, he came from three generations of Prime Ministers in the Kathiawad States (Ghandi, 1927). Ghandi was encouraged to take risks as a child and challenge the status quo, however he was submissive and easily influenced by the actions and words of others (Ghandi, 1927). He describes himself as a “mediocre student” (p. 2) and refers to himself constantly as a “coward” (p. 9) as he speaks of being easily influenced by his brothers and friends (Gandhi, 1927). If Horner’s (1997) initial description of leadership, as being a “birth rite” and an ongoing process of grooming were an indicator of outstanding leadership, Ghandi would by no means be a candidate. There are many reasons for Ghandi’s success as a leader but four major qualities are his goodness, wisdom, community building and his actions as a servant leader (Linn, 2006). It will be argued that Ghandi was made a leader and not born one. In this essay Ghandi’s transformed leadership style will be critiqued in light of current theories and the implications on my own practices will be analysed.
Ghandi’s leadership style is mirrored in Burns’ theory of Transformative leadership (1978). It is described as a model that has “power together” or “power with” unlike most traditional leadership styles that exercise “power over” their followers (Blase & Anderson, p. 16, 1995). Ghandi adopted a leadership style that focused on people’s principles, not the person; this process was called Satyagraha (Juergensmeyer, 2002). He was very well known for this noncooperative or nonviolent approach (Juergensmeyer, 2002). Unlike other leadership styles, transformative leadership stems from critiquing inequitable practices and the use of power while focuses on the overall outcome for the community (Shields, 2010). This type of leadership promotes democracy and social empowerment through leadership (Blase & Anderson, 1995). Burns’...

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