Sangeeth Varghese is a leadership thinker from the LSE and the founder of LeadCap. He co-founded Leadership Village YLP in Wayanad with Laila Saein and Anil Emage. Sangeeth Varghese is a globally acknowledged leadership thinker, ranked among the top 10, from the Harvard and London School of Economics. He is the author of the No.1 business bestseller in India ‘Open Source Leader’ and the global bestseller ‘Decide to Lead’. He was nominated as a Young Global Leader 2010 by the World Economic Forum, Davos and was honoured as the first Asian Youth Ambassador by the government of Libya.
Prior to this, Varghese researched and studied leadership at Harvard and the London School of Economics with scholarships. He has also done his MBA and Bachelor’s in Economics with gold medals.
Building a nation of heroes
For most of us democracy means nothing more than the franchise of voting. We forget that democracy is also participatory, which requires working together within our communities to make a difference to our own lives and the lives of those around us. Irony is that we often require painful incidents, to remind us about this and to shake us out of the quagmire of problems that we are left to deal with.
John Kotter, authority on leadership from the Harvard Business School, says about this, “Without enough leadership from enough people in existing arenas, they become too sluggish and uncreative to flourish in a world of change and flux. Without enough leadership to create and nurture new initiatives, an economy like India can’t keep a democracy stable. Leadership is not the only necessity for stability and progress, but without enough, democratic institutions remain fragile – always vulnerable to internal tyranny and external threats.”
In fact, we all have been limiting ours and our nation’s potential thinking that true leaders are different. We have been indifferent to nation building thinking that exemplary leaders are extraordinary. But it stands to reason that at some point of time all great leaders, be it Mahathma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or George Washington, were all ordinary individuals. They took a decision to wriggle out of their comfort zones. They took a decision to challenge themselves and the world around. They took a decision to look beyond themselves, to get involved, to make a difference to the lives of millions of people around. And that is exactly what is required from each one of us right now.
As we traverse through this twilight zone, we cannot afford to restrict leadership to a few individuals. It is time for us to come out of our cosy homes, cocoons and comfort zones to tackle and solve our nation’s problems. It is time for us to nudge each other to remind that it is not up to ‘them’, but up to us. It is up to us to build India as a nation of leaders – where everyone is a leader, where everyone is a hero.
Probably our real tryst with destiny is just around the corner. Let us embrace it boldly.