Brand Leadership and building great Leaders – Part 3

The difference between a leader and a celebrity

Kashif Ahmed, Business Strategist, Author, And Speaker

In the first article, I've discussed the basic and advanced traits of leadership that I've considered as inseverable leadership qualities. In this third article, Kashif Ahmed (Business Strategist, Author, and Speaker) emphasizes eleven signs that will help you recognize the difference between a celebrity and an authentic leader.
During my professional experience - which began in 1990 - I've expanded my in-depth know-how of today's businesses and industrial operations through exciting and challenging projects. My first project started with the restructuring and digitization of the country's largest organization, PT&T, Pakistan Telephone and Telegraph, now PTCL, Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation, with over 100,000 employees and thousands of offices and telephone exchanges working around the country.
Marketing false promises to gain profits
In my first year, I was able to gain detailed proficiency and understanding of various businesses and industries, apart from the telecom industry, empowering me to improvise and execute many business processes. In addition, I also guided, supervised & mentored professionals, developers, and designers for improved methodology and solutions and gradually switched to my self-employed career as a career and business strategist, or I should say re-strategist.
Getting closer to decision-makers, management, and commercial processes, I soon encountered erratic behavior in marketing strategies and operations. For example, brands that deliberately promoted false truths in their marketing and advertising campaigns to gain profits tricked consumers through subliminal messages, manipulated advocacy, and restricted their original concepts about human strengths and values.
Principles of monopolizing human abilities
Industrial business strategies focus on the principles of monopolizing human abilities and their original capabilities, confining them into a limited mindset beneficial to work for money. As a result of this strategy, employees and customers were transformed into obedience; while achieving more power for the industrialist. However, these deliberately constructed misconceptions revolve around only two pillars of success:
- Obtain a Celebrity through monetary status;
- Grow power through 300 years industrial revolution.
Ironically, these strategies of the so-called industrial leader, actually celebrities, are deteriorating. Over time, these money and power-hungry celebrities started experiencing burnouts, nervous breakdowns, and fallouts. The reason was the missing piece in their leadership, making deterioration inevitable.

Pushing back against profit-minded Leaders

In a commencement, addressed by Arianna Huffington (a Greek-American author, syndicated columnist, and businesswoman) at Smith College in the spring of 2013, she said she had a personal wakeup call and realized that we had shrunk the definition of success to our drive for money and power. These are what she calls two legs of the three-legged stool of success.

They may hold us up temporarily, but sooner or later, we're going to topple over."

Bootstrap authentic traits of leadership
The third metric includes our well-being, our ability to draw on our intuition and inner wisdom, our sense of wonder, and our capacity for compassion and giving, the essential traits of leadership. As Arianna points out, our eulogies celebrate our lives very differently from the way society defines success. They don't commemorate our long hours in the office, our promotions, or our sterling PowerPoint presentations as we relentlessly raced to climb up the career ladder. They are not about our resumes–they are about cherished memories, shared adventures, small kindnesses and acts of generosity, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh.
Arianna further explored and discovered that the need for this third metric becomes essential as we find more and more top-ranking leaders and decision-makers getting worried about the mistakes and blunders they are making on a day-to-day basis. The reasons behind that are the exact missing piece, the third metric, our intuition, inner wisdom, our sense of wonder.
Develop and flourish intuition, inner wisdom, and a sense of wonder
Thinkers and philosophers in the western world have been relying solely on the power of their brains for centuries. There was no solid evidence obtainable for intuition, revelation, and inner wisdom, connecting us with our souls and hearts.
The definition of a successful, happy, and fulfilled life shrunk to the drive for money and power. What haunts leaders daily is the mistakes they make because they became celebrities, not leaders. They don't trip up because they are bad people; they often fumble because of a lack of intuition and inner wisdom.
Eleven signs that will help you recognize the most common—and, not coincidentally, most damaging—mistakes involve interacting with people like a celebrity:
1. Never grow any interest in people.
2. Unavailable and inaccessible.
3. No focus for talent development.
4. Don't care for performance feedback; instead, use sticks to hit, and argue to embarrass.
5. Extract emotions from the workplace.
6. Managing conflict ineffectively or not at all.
7. Not driving change for quality improvement.
8. Discourage risk-takers and creative minds.
9. Obtain misconceptions about what inspires and motivates humans.
10. Managing activities rather than leading and inspiring people.
11. Drive a wedge in the team through financial performance schemes and 'favorite son appreciation.'

Pay people fairly. However, keep in mind that external carrots and sticks distort the internal motivation."

Our Leadership reflection program challenges upcoming professionals to develop their strengths, identify weaknesses and break downward patterns to grow as Great Leaders.
Want more insights?
Kashif Ahmed is a corporate trainer and workshop leader, today working in the space of business improvement, innovation, problem-solving, change management, leadership development with a variety of corporate and leadership training programs enhancing an employee's self-confidence, and their ability to problem-solve, allowing the senior team to improve their effectiveness.

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