All great leaders begin with a dream. They aspire to become authorities in some particular fields. They also think and believe that they can achieve their dreams. They are actually visionaries. They begin with an idea that they would someday become leaders according to the likings their hearts and end up industry leaders. Social scientists believe that we are what we think. Action is guided by thinking. We can only achieve what strongly think and dream. If we do not aspire to become leaders, then we can never be one. Aspiring leaders think outside the box to explore new horizons to serve humanity.
Leaders are rarely accidental. Most of them aspire something to improve society according to their personal values and cultural orientation. It’s true that leaders are made, not born. No one is born a leader, unless he or she inherited it because of the social status of their parents. Thus, if one is born a member of a political clan or family, he or she can assume the political leadership of their parents as a form of what sociologists call as ascribed status or a form of social status acquired from birth. But most business leaders who are innovative and who opened new fields in today’s technological world are made through their own efforts and through the conducive social and business environments that provided them a “break” or opportunity to lead a group or industry. Steve Jobs, for example, could not become a leader in technology innovation if the digital technology did not flourish during his time. The latest technologies provided him with new tools and opportunities to actualize his dreams! Bill Gates would not also become the founder of the Microsoft and a leader of the software technology if technology did not shift from analog to digital and without the invention of the Internet and personal computers. Achieving leadership is not only a matter of personal effort. The social milieu must also be “friendly” or conducive to the dreamer or aspiring leader! And if the dreamer is really serious in achieving something to improve society in some particular fields, then the content of his or her dream must be based on real life situations; otherwise, the dream is only a wishful or idle thinking without a serious effort on the part of the dreamer to actualize it. This is not the kind of dream that great leaders think! What they think is achieving breakthroughs of humankind’s current perennial problems that make life difficult for people. Great leaders in business, for instance, think and invent products and services that improve the current market or open up a new market altogether or niche.
Contemporary Leadership as Achieved Social Status
Most leadership that happen in contemporary society is achieved status, i.e, acquired by the person through personal achievement and effort. That is why in urban society, most leaders are guided by personal aspirations that one day they would become industry leaders. They just don’t sit around and wait for the opportunities to come. Instead they explore real human needs, study how they can address them, and work tirelessly to achieve them. They never give up when they encounter obstacles and frustrations along the way. Most great leaders in today’s business world did not achieve their leadership status by wishful thinking or leading a comfortable life. They live a very difficult life before they achieve their dream and become leaders of their chosen fields. Jack Ma, for instance, did not become the leader of the Alibaba Group in China and become one of the richest men of his country without undergoing humiliation of being rejected by Harvard Business School twelve times and experiencing some seemingly insurmountable obstacles in achieving his dream. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg had to drop from Harvard University to focus on their dreams. The road to success and leadership is painful but inwardly rewarding for aspirants in achieved leadership status. Most of these business leaders did not acquire their leadership by ascription or comfort, but by extreme personal sacrifice and determination, seeing achievement of their dreams and glory beyond the horizon not seen by ordinary mortals.
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