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No substitute to strong leadership

  • Published at 11:37 pm September 26th, 2019
WEB_Ledership
The right people in the right places

In particular, for a country such as Bangladesh, which is currently on the cusp of making significant economic breakthroughs, the businesses of the country will have to play a massive part in ensuring that this development remains on course and is not halted

There’s a historical debate on whether leaders are born or made. While there may never be a conclusive solution to this debate, what remains beyond the scope of debate is the importance of strong leadership.

Be it team sports, corporations, a start-up, or politics, all the talented and high functioning individuals in the world can essentially come crashing down without sound leadership ensuring the system goes smoothly.

It is hard to imagine Amazon’s success without the vision of Jeff Bezos. Or the lasting appeal of Manchester United without the drive of its legendary manager Alex Ferguson. Or the buzz around Tesla without the aura of Elon Musk.

In the business world, however, the concept of leadership has hit a bit of a stumbling block -- that of the reliance on data, numbers, and essentially some form of statistical or empirical evidence to back any decision businesses make.

While the merits of going through the myriad facets of the business world with a foundation firmly rooted in data and statistical evidence are manifold, there do exist limitations.

This limitation comes to light in the form of comprehending good leadership because leadership is, fundamentally, an intangible “human” quality, and, unlike many other aspects, isn’t as readily identifiable through the analysis of Big Data.

Think about it. Is it really possible to put a number on the kind of leader Steve Jobs was?

A further complication lies because, perhaps due to human folly, we believe that, especially in the 21st century, everything is measurable, that everything can become tangible.

However, while it is true that there will be certain measurable characteristics that will reflect good leadership, be it an individual or a group of people, it is unlikely that such revelations, while no doubt extremely valuable, will tell the complete story.

Instead, it is important, even necessary, to complement the empirical approach to determine good leaders with a more intuitive “feeling” of what is a good leader. The two do not have to be at loggerheads -- they are not mutually exclusive.

The other issue stems from the fact that leaders, and leadership in general, vary greatly from person to person, organization to organization, and culture to culture. 

While there are numerous traits that one may typically associate with good leadership -- charisma, confidence, talent, trustworthiness -- there is no one size fits all.

An important point to note here is that not everyone wants to be a leader, and there have been many reluctant leaders over the years, who have been forced to take the mantle during times of crisis.

Whether they successfully managed to avert the crisis and steer their organization to stability is not the point of contention here.

Rather, it i to acknowledge that leadership isn’t easy; there’s a significant amount of stress, responsibility, and expectations associated with just about every position of leadership.

This is particularly true for businesses, where certain decisions can have significant ramifications across all channels of the organization. Therefore, it remains extremely important to select the right people in these leadership roles.

In particular, for a country such as Bangladesh, which is currently on the cusp of making significant economic breakthroughs, the businesses of the country will have to play a massive part in ensuring that this development remains on course and is not halted.

And for that, above all else, the country requires the right people in the right places to be making smart, sustainable, and forward-thinking decisions. There’s always a need for strong leadership, and there’s no substitute for it if any organization, business, or economy wants to flourish and thrive.

AHM Mustafizur Rahman is an Editorial Assistant at Dhaka Tribune.