The leader called Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in India. He was considered a powerful icon that showed the world what true leadership should be about. He was discriminated against in South Africa because of his race. This was a common problem faced by non-whites. This led him to start a campaign to fight against the British oppression.
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He managed to advocate for equality and freedom in South Africa for about 20 years with an aim of aiding his fellow Indians. The Indians in South Africa were by his side every step of the way. After his campaign in South Africa, he decided to take his struggle and agendas to India as his fellow compatriots were experiencing the same problem (Gandhi, 1962).
A summary of the essential Gandhi
Mohandas contributed significantly in the political, social, economic and environmental fields. In the field of politics, he had a number of agendas. First and foremost, he felt the need to end British oppression in his country. He preferred to use a different approach from other leaders hence he decided to use non-violence. He and his supporters organized non-violent protests, strikes, marches and boycotts. This method worked as it slowly wore down the British.
After about 20 years, the British finally decided to give up. The dream of independence finally became a reality to the people of India. This strategy was effective because, as a leader, he put the interests of his people before his own agenda. He saw that the option of violence was countered with violence, and it would end up in bloodshed. His choice to demonstrate peacefully was a strong indicator of leadership (Gandhi, 1993).
Secondly, he was a strong advocate in trying to unite Hindus and Muslims against the British. He tried to reach and negotiate a common ground where the two could meet. This was meant to focus the people on the common enemy that was bigger and more destructive than the two groups.
The joining of these two groups was to make the resistance from the oppressed that are the non-whites stronger. Thirdly, he used fasting as a political tool. He occasionally fasted as a way of protest. In some cases he even threatened to kill himself if his demands were not met. This was an effective strategy of getting sympathy (Gandhi, 1993).
Lastly, he was strongly opposed to the colonial education system. He believed that the British used this to fuel their western civilization agenda. He believed that it went against the core values of truth and non-violence. The British used it to destroy their race, and that is why he was also against it. This is why he felt that there was no way the colonial education system would aid in the progress of India as a country.
He wanted education to be in such a way that it would enable the progress of India independently. He recommended the introduction of the learning of crafts in school. These crafts included things like spinning, leatherwork, pottery, bookbinding basket making among other things. Instead of just focusing on literacy, it was to be flexible and adapt certain aspects into it. This was meant to boost the citizens (Gandhi, 2002).
In the field of economics, his contributions were also significant. First and foremost, he advocated for the self-governance of the communities due to the fact that the British were over exploiting them. The exploitation resulted in the damage of the economy. He knew that freedom would mean that the communities could now function independently hence, leading to the development.
The children were to be trained for productive work. They were to be instilled with attitudes and values that were appropriate for a co-operative community. This strategy was to be effective in strengthening self-reliance among the communities. It would also be effective in instilling skills among the people (Gandhi, 1962).
Secondly, he proposed the restructuring of the education system with an aim of boosting the finances of the schools. He felt that the reliance on the colonialists was not good for the economy. He also knew that the citizens themselves could sustain the economy. His rationale was that schools should be self-sustaining.
He knew that because the economy was bad, it was not in a position to provide education to all pupils. The schools needed the necessary resources needed to sustain them. This is why he proposed the introduction of production services (Gandhi, 1962).
Lastly, he believed that an Ideal citizen was industrious and generous. He saw the threat to the country’s industrialization would come from the competition from the large-scale established industries from the Westerners. He felt that the villagers had to be protected against outside competition. He opted to use the education system to counter the competition from the west.
In the social field, he believed that the colonial system of education served to divide the citizens among social lines. The higher social class students focused on acquiring literacy and knowledge from books while the lower class did not. This is why he proposed the incorporation of the productive handicrafts to edge out the ideology that this crafts were for the low class. This ideology was meant to give equal opportunities to everyone (Gandhi, 1993).
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He was also against the fact that the British Empire destroyed the rich culture of the Indians. This Gandhi aimed at eradicating by campaigning against their system. He even opted to use homemade goods, as opposed to the goods manufactured in the British Industries. This portrayed to the people that their goods were good. His acts influenced some people in using Indian made goods only (Gandhi, 2002).
He was also a firm believer in the conservation of the environment. That was why he was against the European factories and industries. He knew that they were destroying the environment. He aimed at ensuring that his people live in a conducive environment. An environment that was clean and free from pollution (Gandhi, 1962).
The most powerful leadership characteristics of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
The most effective characteristic that he had was that he was influential. Throughout his life, he always managed to move crowds. He also won the support of the people. This is evident from the start of his British resistance in South Africa and its end in India. He had many followers in his protest agendas in both of these countries. He even had a lot of support during his fasting campaigns. His influence was his strongest tool (Gandhi, 1962).
He was also selfless. He always put the interests of his people ahead of his. This is why he adopted the non violence approach in dealing with the British. He also fasted as a way of pushing for the rights of his people. These selfless deeds are what made him so popular among the people. The citizens and supporters trusted him because of his selflessness.
He was a good decision maker as his strategies were calculated. His decisions were meant to achieve the best results in the most effective way. He carefully analyzed each decision before making it. This is a core element that leadership should entail. Planning is important in every person’s role as a leader.
He was also a risk taker. Mohandas was ready to fight for what he believed in despite the consequences. He stood up against the British in a number of occasions despite what the repercussions would be. This is what made him a true leader and served as a vital tool in meeting his objectives. The fact that he was ready to risk it all even his life so as to liberate his people strengthened his campaign.
Characteristics that I will adopt to improve my leadership style and skills
Mohandas was selfless. From these, I will first consider and evaluate a situation from the viewpoint that will benefit the employees and put their priorities and well being first. Gandhi was a leader by example; this is shown through his fasting. As a leader, he sacrificed his well-being for the good of his people. I will make sure that I lead by example. Being a leader should also entail sacrifice. A good leader should be able to go to extremes to motivate his employers hence ensuring that they will always have confidence in him or her (Gandhi, 1993).
As a leader, one should always know their objective and have a plan of how to achieve it. Gandhi had an objective of ending British rule and used non-violence resistance to aid in his plight. He aimed for it and did not give up no matter what. As a leader once I know my objective no matter what obstacles are in the way I will always make sure the end point is in the realization of my goals. This is because a true leader should always find a way of meeting his or her objectives (Gandhi, 2002).
One should not force his or her policies on the employees. The employees should know why and how decisions are being made, and if not they should be given a logical explanation of the reasons behind making the decisions. This is a key aspect that Mohandas did not fail to incorporate. In the case of the Hindus and the Muslims, he made sure to make it clear to the two groups that they had a common enemy. It became quite easy for people to follow him. This I will also use to gain the trust of my employees.
I will become more of a risk taker than I was before. Gandhi did not hesitate to stand up against British oppression. He fearlessly resisted them at all measures. He was even ready to lose his life so as to achieve his goals. This is another important element for true leadership to be achieved.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a true leader by nature that is why his ideologies live on forever. His leadership characteristics are what made his contributions be realized and adopted. His leadership style was highly influenced by the fact that he always put the interests of his people before his. In all the decisions that he made, he made them while considering which was best for his people.
Each move he made was to benefit the people more. This was despite the repercussions on himself. He made every decision after a careful strategy and analysis of its outcome, how effective it would be, and whom it would affect. A good leader like Gandhi should be able to get the support of the people so that any effective move can be made. These are some, among many of the leadership styles and characteristics, which one learns from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Gandhi, M. (1962). The essential Gandhi. New York, NY: Ballantine books.
Gandhi, M. (1993). The essential writings of Mahatma Gandhi. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Gandhi, M. (2002). The essential Gandhi: An anthology of his writings on his life, work, and ideas. New York, NY: Vintage.