Perfectly imperfect

I have seen many leaders. Some share their vision effectively with their teams. Others plan meticulously. Some manage. Still others micromanage. And irrespective of whatever style they use, these leaders manage to complete the task at hand. But this man was different.

I had known him for several years now. But yet I couldn’t decipher how he managed to command such loyalty from his team members. There were no stars in his team, but together they shone brilliantly across the firmament. Each member stretched themselves far beyond their individual capacities.  Their camaraderie and bonhomie was enviable. What was it about this team that made them sail through each storm with such confidence?

Last night I discovered the magic. Not at some stiff formal academic session. But at a cultural evening organized for delegates of a conference. It was an evening where members of the organizing team showcased their talents. They sang. They danced. They acted. They walked the ramp. They did not bother to be perfect. They were just themselves.  They laughed as their buddies pulled their leg. Their comfort level with each other was remarkable. And that was the beauty of the evening.

And then he stood up. The leader. And walked up on stage. He didn’t bother about being respected or serious. And completely caught everyone unaware. He brought the floor down with an audacious thumka! And the miracle happened. In the next microsecond, everything changed around us. Everyone wanted to sing, even if they didn’t strike the perfect notes. Everyone wanted to dance, despite two left feet. There was no fear of being flawed. It was safe to let your hair down and be silly. They all wanted to be part of the magic that was happening.

It was at that moment that I learnt the secret of his leadership. Here was a leader who was not afraid of being imperfect.

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