"Be not afraid of greatness:some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them".(Act II, SceneV,Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night) . Are some people born to lead while others are born only to be led?The current common wisdom is that "leadership can be learnt( or taught)"In early 1894, Vivekananda wrote to a brother disciple:"Can a leader be made , my brother?A leader is born. . . Every body wants to be a leader , but it is the failure to grasp that he(the leader) is born, that causes all the mischief"(Complete Works, Volume 6,pp284-285).Peter Drucker calls born leaders as "naturals".Drucker says:"Most leaders I have seen were neither born nor made.They were self-made.We need far too many leaders to depend only on the naturals."Asim Chaudhuri has done painstaking research and written his third book on Vivekananda.In "Vivekananda : A Born Leader" , he has tried to prove that Vivekananda was a born leader, though he also developed new leaders.Asim Chaudhuri also says that rather than saying that leadership can be learnt , a better statement would be that leadership can be manifested , as shown by Vivekananda.
Herman Hesse(1877-1962) wrote the novel "Journey to the East" in 1932.Hesse was exposed to the eastern Thoughts when he traveled to the East in 1911 , but he wrote "Journey to the East" in 1932 -21 years later .Robert Greenleaf (1904-1990) formulated the concept of servant leadership in 1977.His book "Servant leadership:A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness" is rooted in Eastern mysticism and spirituality. Specifically, the Servant-Leader who captured Greenleaf's imagination and catalysed the writing of this book was the fictional character Leo in Hesse's "Journey to the East . Greenleaf read about Leo in 1958 and published his book on servant leadership in 1977.Servant leadership is a paradigm shift in the view of leadership. Servant leaders are leaders who will embrace the organizations and love them, care for them and serve the population within and without through them. The qualities indicative of such growth and service are:1. Do those served grow as persons?
2. Do they, while being served become healthier wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants.
3. What is the effect on the least privileged in society?
4. Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived? (Greenleaf 1977/2002 p.27).
While Greenleaf wrote about servant -leader in 1977,Vivekananda practised as a servant leader in 1897,about 80 years before Greenleaf introduced this concept .Vivekananda was way ahead of modern management thought and practice in thinking and in real life.
Any one aspiring to be a leader needs to be a servant follower first in the true spirit of service to fellow human beings.Only then , leadership will be manifested .Asim Chaudhuri deserves our gratitude for having drawn our attention to these very important and relevant aspects of leadership.