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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Positive Leadership: What it Takes to be an Extraordinary Leader

After writing more than 50 books on topics ranging from Buddha to getting a good night's rest, Deepak Chopra recently turned his attention to leadership and entrepreneurs in The Soul of Leadership: Unlocking Your Potential for Greatness. While there's no shortage of spirituality in this book, readers -- Chopra hopes -- will get a healthy tutorial on how to practically start and build organisations and companies that thrive and possibly even inspire.

Here are his answers two important questions:

What are the keys to successful leadership?

'Any leader has one main goal: How to envision that future and how to create that future. So in order to be really effective, the leader needs to harness the intelligence, creativity, emotional engagement and also the emotional connection with the people that are part of his or her team in order to manifest that vision.'

Can leadership be learned?

'Leaders are not born that way. Circumstance, context, history, culture and precise timing bring out the leader. It's said the civil rights movement was born when Rosa Parks refused to get up from her seat. When asked why she did that, she said she was tired. It is really a mysterious phenomenon, but I believe that in any moment of crisis, there's a moment for leaders to emerge, and they usually do. Among the many, there are always one or two people who realise the opportunity and their potential. We all have the potential. We all may not have the desire. If you don't have the desire, then you're not a born leader. Inherent in the desire is the potential for leadership.'


Positive Leadership: Leadership Lessons from Walmart

Walmart CEO Mike Duke leads the world's biggest retailer, which has 2.1 million employees and serves 200 million customers each week. Here are excerpts from a recent interview Duke did with The Associated Press:

‘Q. What ideals from Sam Walton do you embrace?

A. Leadership is about showing respect to every individual, about humility over arrogance, about listening and getting feedback from a broad array of constituents. It's about a passion for customers and knowing customers first-hand, not theoretical, not through some data, but by having personal, passionate communication with customers.

And leadership is about striving for excellence. It's about setting aggressive goals and not being afraid to go after very aggressive goals and targets. I think it's even better for a leader to set an aggressive goal and come up a little short than it would be to set a soft goal and to exceed it.

Q. What should a leader value most?

A. Integrity and trust. If a leader doesn't have the trust of associates, of customers, of shareholders, then all the other things, the ability to speak eloquently and to sing and dance and entertain, (don't) mean a thing if a leader is not trusted.’