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3 Steps To Talk (Think & Be) Like A Great Leader

Good news is - there is a simple but profound test of leadership is to analyse the statements made by leaders. And it takes just three steps.

October 29, 2015 / 10:46 AM IST
Everybody wants to be a great leader. And you would surely want to test if your boss, colleague or peer is truly a great leader, or a fake. Good news is - there is a simple but profound test of leadership is to analyse the statements made by leaders. And it takes just three steps.

Now, this test can also be run on a Narendra Modi or Barrack Obama or Bill Gates or anyone else. It also comes with the advantage that you can also analyse a specific statement in a context to see if they are in a leadership frame of mind, or being not so at that point of time.

A great leader always makes a statement which have three components:

1. Identify and acknowledge problem;

2. State solution or what should be done; and

3. What they will do or how they are going to offer to help.

When a leader doesn't acknowledge the problem at home - you know they are in denial and trying to shirk (politicians, those caught in crime, or plain caught pants down).

When leaders don't offer solutions (cribbers, professional protesters) they are just trying to raise dust for personal attention.

When they don't offer to be part of a solution (white-collar, academic, lazy); they are useless people with nothing but slogans to offer.

Now see statements by great leaders - they are often complete. Every speech, conversation, reply to a question moves beautifully from one to the other - covering every aspect - representing intellectual solidity, moral clarity, and personal commitment.

Leader or not.... there, go ahead and test. It also amazingly works in our lives: professional, personal or social. ‪


1. If you are a Public Relations or Corporate Communications professional: Try to ensure the speeches or statements have all three components - acknowledge or empathize with the problem, give your view on what the solution should be and express eagerness to work for it.

2. If you are a Speech Writer: Try to ensure the speeches you write for a leader - political or corporate - has all three components - acknowledge problem, solution and eagerness to work.

3. In Your Own Personal, Professional & Social Life: Try to ensure that when you are speaking - think the 3-step test. If you do not know or understand the problem - ask and check. Empathize with the problem. Then discuss possible solutions and check before you offer to know it. Finally, and most significantly, always showcase your willingness to participate in the solution.

You can be surprised by the results.

Sriram Karri is author of the bestselling novel - Autobiography of a Mad Nation - longlisted for the MAN Asian Booker prize. He writes columns, essays, short stories and plays, and has contributed to The New York Times, The Guardian, The Hindu, The New Indian Express, BBC, Scroll and The Wire.
first published: Oct 29, 2015 10:46 am
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