Rajeev Peshawaria is currently CEO of the ICLIF Leadership & Governance Centre based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which provides executive education and advisory services to organizations in Asia, Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining ICLIF in April 2010, Rajeev worked at AMEX, HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Coca-Cola where he headed headed Coca-Cola University and at Morgan Stanley, where he founded Morgan Stanley University.
We wanted to talk about his new book: Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders: The Three Essential Principles You Need to Become an Extraordinary Leader.
An exceptional leader is, he writes:
one who not only runs the company but creates a cadre of supporters who understand the company’s goals and missions and work to embody them every day.
Leadership, can neither be learned in a classroom, nor automatically acquired by accepting a big title or position of authority. Leadership needs to be discovered, and there is no shortcut to the discovery process.
I think President Obama faces all of those two paragraphs every day since he chose to run for President...back in that day. It made sense to ask Mr. Peshawaria for his ideas on how President Obama could create a culture of extraordinary leaders...
a cadre of supporters who understand [ our country's] goals and missions and work to embody them every day.
I asked him:
We've reached the imagination moment in our show. Let's imagine that our President Obama is calling you after this call.
Rajeev, he says, could you come to the WH or at least join a secure conference call with myself and Vice-President Joe Biden. We seem to be drowning here in DC from too many bosses and too few leaders. What are three things our country can do to create a culture of extraordinary leaders?
What would you tell him?
I thought his answer was beautiful in its clarity and how he picked up themes from other guests who have answered this same question:
Well, I think when he ran for President a couple of years ago he painted the picture of a better future. And that’s what won him the presidency.
Most of us related to his purpose and his values and voted for him. So, to continue to use the terminology from the book:
“We like the brain of his campaign and the promises he made.”
However, I think we’ve fallen just a little bit in the Bones and Nerve section. To take just one example, and this is just my view, many people liked his opposition to the Iraq War and that’s why he appealed to a lot of people. Now a lot of the same people are questioning his support for the struggle in Libya.
So, my humble advice would be to lead by example and stick to your values. It is impossible to say what are the three things the country can do to create a culture of leadership. In many ways America already has a culture of leadership. So, if Obama and Biden can re-articulate a vision and lead with values and keep the courage to do the right thing I think they will inspire a whole generation to do the same thing.
Let history judge their actions. For now, they should lead with values rather than their position of power.
Those would be my two cents.
Want more from Rajeev Peshawaria?
- Read his blog
- Follow him on Twitter
- Buy his book: Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders: The Three Essential Principles You Need to Become an Extraordinary Leader.
Some may say this is inappropriate.
This is politics! And you never discuss politics at Thanksgiving Dinners, backyard barbecues and on a business radio show.
I disagree. As long as only politicians can discuss solutions for our country then those solutions and their interested audiences will remain off-limits, political, for those who make this brand, our country, run. And only politicians, these days that's only career politicians, can discuss those ideas and spoon-feed solutions to the public.
I see our times as an all hands-on-deck opportunity and not a crisis. That opportunity is for each of us to lend our hands, our conversations, our ideas to find and share solutions. In our absence those challenges are left to ideologues, vested interests and politicians of all stripes and partisan persuasion.
We...are the only ones with vested interests. And now we have, with social media and the urgency of today, the opportunity to reclaim our place at this table and discuss our ideas to solve our challenges. At the very least, we can listen to a discussion until we are ready to speak up.