Here are two cases in point: the former Mayor, Marion Barry and the former U.S President, Bill Clinton Neither of these leaders were servant leaders, although they were good managers and were able to provide for their constituents physical needs. This is all the people ask of them. These needs are what people consider their personal rights. These leaders also felt that they had a right to a private life that should not be closely examined or considered a disqualification of their ability to perform their public duty. In many ways a leader’s private life is even more important than his pubic life is more of a performance. It is the private life that gives us a greater indication of his consciousness. A leader’s actual consciousness will indicate how he forms policies. Mahatma Ghaudi emphasized that leaders must have uniform standard of conduct. One cannot act improperly in their life and consider it all right because one is a good manager. If one is improper in one area of life, that activity will certainly cloud other areas of his life. This is why I am emphasizing the importance of character development. The Vedas (Higher standard literatures) states: acaryavan purusoveda: “One who knows the leader (arcarya) and the Vedas knows what is what. And inasmuch as the real arcarya (leader) is living in truth, he becomes the role model for other truth – seekers”. The Vedas also mention arcara and pracara, that the actions and speech of true servant leaders are similar. That is he or she does not act one way while saying something else. They are not hypocritical.
Since people themselves have such little integrity of wholeness, their lives are fragmented into political lives, cultural lives, institutional lives, social lives, and religious lives. By the end of the day, they are often confused about their actual identity. They have different standards of conduct in all their different roles. It is no wonder that so many people today are having mental breakdowns. There are three areas to which leaders often fail prey: illicit sex, intoxication and lack of financial accountability. In the case of Marian Barry, who did wonderful things to his constituents, but he was ruined by his use of illicit drugs and his support of the drug industry. Considering that drug abuse is one of the worst problems facing the youths in this country, it is a betrayal of trust to have a mayor of a major city involved in the same activity. In the case of President Clinton, he also betrayed the nation trust. In a sense, he indulge in incest. That is, he was a caretaker or father of his people, and the girl involved was young enough to be his daughter. If he had been a normal parent or even an average leader of almost any organization in the world, there would be no way for him to maintain his position. In the same instance a highly placed student in the U.S marines, once said that if she or any of her junior staff members or officers did something even half as serious as what President Clinton did, she would have lost her job in the military. Here, President Clinton maintained his office and continue to be supported by the American people. She saw this as a contradiction to the true meaning of true leadership. It has since been shown that his improper actions have led others to engage others in similar activities. His example of indulging in immediate sense enjoyment rather than considering the example he would set for others is just the type of mentality that is creating counterfeit leaders all over the world and degrading civilization. We need to sound a wake – up call in order to tell people that it is the time for real animated leadership rather than driven leadership. We need leaders who are prepared to lead from the inside out. People are being programmed to think through their genitals. We are constantly bombarded by the media and advertisers all over the world with sexually stimulating materials. People nowadays are trying to experience personal enjoyment at any cost. The following story emphasizes the danger of trying to have one’s senses endlessly stimulated. A man once was walking in the forest and saw a tiger. The tiger began to chase him. As he was running, he saw a well covered by grass and he saw two branches growing out from the walls of the well. He quickly held on to this branches and lowered himself into the well to save himself from the danger of the tiger. However, the tiger saw him enter into the well and stopped at the edge and leaned over looking at the man. The man seeing the tiger above him looked down to see if he can change his position in the well but noticed two cobras with extended hoods at the bottom of the well. His legs were dangling over the serpents as he hanged helplessly. There came two white and black rats and began nibbling at the branches he was holding. The two rats signify night and day, the tiger represent death and the serpents represents life’s difficulties. What a precarious situation this man is involved. There are dangers above and dangers below. And above him on a tree, he saw a beehive, dropping with honey. As he looked up, he realized that the honey was dripping in such a way that if he stuck out his tongue, he could just catch a few drops, and so began to enjoy the honey’s sweet taste. And he soon forgot the dangers he faced. Such is the life we are living in. The temporary pleasures that people experience and try to enjoy amid unlimited dangers normally preoccupy them. This is called denial of reality. Life has a higher purpose but few people know what it is or even know that it exists. Most people are only concerned with improving their concerns of eating, sleeping, mating (sex) and trying to defend oneself. Or they become stuck at the earlier stages of maturation that both Maslow and the Vedic system present. That is, they expend at! their energy on fulfilling physiological needs and the need for affiliation without ever understanding anything more. However while expending so much energy, old age creeps up and death soon follows. Whatever, one worked so hard to acquire in the material realm is then lost to others to enjoy. All that is left, all that is carried away from this body with the individual soul, are the values he imbibed and the composite of the deeds he performed. If one spends his life only trying to satisfy the physical body, he has certainly cheated himself and those around him while never actually experiencing human life. Real living means connecting with our real identity, the higher identity in its connection with God. From this point, we can experience real love. However we can not experience such a high level of love if we are too interested in materialism and the externals of physical life. When we remain on a platform of physical survival, our minds and hearts are fragmented by unlimited desires. We will not be capable of feeling the depths of love. Love is based on wholeness, selflessness and the ability to share our essence in very genuine ways. As far as we continue to pursue physical and mental pleasures at any cost, we will continue to literally enjoy ourselves to death. Now we see that people are trying to entertain themselves to unhealthy ways and that they are speeding up the process of their lives and dying younger. Studies show that more people are dying from self imposed illness – illness imposed on ourselves by unhealthy life styles – than from any other diseases. More people are dying from illnesses related to stress, lack of exercise, depression, smoking, drinking alcohol, drugs, illicit sex and unhealthy mixtures of pharmaceutical drugs and diseases caused by sexual promiscuity than ever before. But what can be done when unprincipled leadership sets an example that encourages others to aim for nothing higher but constant degradation of oneself materially and spiritually. Among the leaders are those thinker – scientists, philosophers who while making some beneficial contributions to society, have somewhat hurt human development by focusing on materialism and denying the existence of God. Such teachings nor leadership allow people to be more aggressive and less accountable for their moral decisions. It has focused the meaning of human life on the individual’s self centred pleasure rather than on social benefit or transcendental life. Generally, materialistic leaders and preachers disguise themselves under various philosophies which does not help one nor the world at large now and in the future. For example, Francis Bacon played a significant role in separating man from nature, encouraging human kind to exploit nature as he placed more emphasis on science and technology than on God as the creator and supreme scientist. Adam Smith is another such person who made an interesting contribution by focusing on human greed and selfishness stressing how these qualities are the basis of any strong economy. He suggested that encouraging people to increase their greed and selfishness would actually strengthen the market. Another materialistic thinker is Charles Darwin, who gave the world his theory of survival of the fittest. In many ways he reduced the meaning of human life to biology and allowed us, for the first time, to understand that we were simply sophisticated animals fighting for territory like any other animals. Then comes Karl Marx, who presented a philosophy of dialectical materialism, fore seeing the downfall of capitalism and presenting the model of a classless society, but one in which God has no place. Then we have Sigmund Freud, who contributed significantly to our understanding of human psychology, but who had no basic interest in God. At last, I would like to mention Machiavelli, who was most gross in his theory about how we should view selfishness as good. He also presented the message of shrewdness, which focused on using people for one’s own pleasure. Do we ever realize how these people’s teachings have been spread around the globe whereby millions of people have been influenced directly or indirectly by their philosophies. Actually it is rear to find leaders who can see and practice the higher meaning of human life. The propagation of these teachings helps us to understand that the leader makes the age far more than the age makes the leader. In other words, the quality of leadership is responsible for determining the collective consciousness of the citizens. Our views of leadership need to be transformed to deal with today’s dynamic realities. Much of today’s leadership is tactical and specific, focusing on external manifestation, such as vision, drive, creativity or charisma. However, this outside factors cannot capture the essence of leadership. Leadership is something deeper and more fundamental. As much as we may try to separate leadership from the person, the two are totally inseparable. ‘The most important human endeavour is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depends on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity, to our lives”- Albert Einstein. More so, we are what we repeatedly do. Hence the power to control our actions is the power to control our character and the power to control our character, is the power to control our dear lives.”
Basically, a servant – leader has a great appreciation for power, money, facility and other type of asset – not because he sees himself as a proprietor, but because he understands that such facility is necessary to become genuinely productive. A servant – leader feels a passion to help others, but realizes that if he has no facility to do so, his passion will not be realized. A Servant – Leader loves power, influence, money and assets, but simply to coordinate their use for the benefit of the people under his care. King Prithu is an example and he said; “The King will respect all women as if they were his own mother, and he will treat his own wife as the other half of his body. He will be like an affectionate father to his citizens, and he will treat himself as the most obedient servant of the led.” In Srimad. Bagavatam we find a personality called Prithu Maharaj who was very humble, meek and gentle, and whenever he performed any philanthropic work or welfare activity for the general public, he would labor exactly as if he were tending to his own personal necessities. In other words, his philanthropic activities were not for the sake of show but were performed out of personal feeling and commitment. All philanthropic activities should be thus performed.” In truth, the late John D. Rockefeller is remembered as a contemporary leader who displayed servant – leader qualities, even if, in other areas, he was a bit controversial. He said repeatedly, “God gave me my money, He favoured me because He knew I would give it back.” In this area, John O. Rockefeller walked his talk. From his first boyhood job, he donated six percent of his wages to charity. By the time he was twenty, he had surpassed the ten percent mark. When he died at ninety – seven, he had given away most of his money to build countless hospitals, churches, museums, and educational institutions. His life was a typical example of stewardship. He saw that God had arranged for him to have so much, so that he could help others. Be your brother’s keeper, always, we can breed true love that will avert hatred, which leads to killings, bombing and distruction. “If the world does not sincerely check all these negative deeds, it will destroy it self in just one moment.”
Finally, leadership, is solving problems. The day soldiers stop brings you their problems, is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can’t help them or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure — Cohn Powell. Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked by someone. Leadership is defined by RESULTS not ATTRIBUTES — Peter Drucker.