Mahatma Gandhi, born on 2nd October, 1869, is one of the greatest leaders and has significant influence and impact across the globe. He hailed from a humble background but he managed to lead India to achieve its independence. His strategies and actions offered new meaning to leadership and its concepts. Leadership based on his practices does not revolve around gaining power and utilizing it to drive actions and polices.
Leadership according to Mahatma Gandhi is more of motivating and guiding the people towards achieving a common goal and actions based on mutual values and beliefs. This leadership idea enabled Gandhi to lead India to its independence. He also believed that leadership was more of common interests and action that would help in changing the lives of the people of India.
His investment on peace and non-violent development enabled him to become one of the greatest role models, emulated by many people across different parts of the globe today. This paper therefore examines Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership qualities and his style of leadership.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Leadership Style
The leadership style of Mahatma Gandhi is based on transformational leadership. This is a style that is result oriented. A leader in this form of leadership must change actions, beliefs and goals of supporters as a way of enabling them to achieve their objectives and goals.
This person therefore generates change by investing in motivation, being dedicated to agendas of groups and setting goals as they boost the morale of supporters. Allen (2007) maintains that leaders who employ this form of leadership style have to gain their supporters’ trust, be a source of inspiration and motivation and should be able to understand different needs of their supporters. By doing so, they will be able to understand their supporters’ strengths and weaknesses and it forms a foundation for correction and change.
The beliefs and actions of Mahatma Gandhi show that he was a transformational leader. One of the qualities that confirm this is that he employed servant leadership. He could set aside his own interests just to lead other people as an example. His services and actions also showed that he valued the goals set by the society more than his inclinations. Mahatma also appealed to the people to engage in something that he could not do on his own (Barnabas & Clifford, 2012).
Therefore, Gandhi wanted to utilize his leadership position and role to influence his supporters to serve other people. His services to the needy and poor groups in the society were also a source of motivation for his supporters who tried to follow his actions. He could also join hands with his supporters and it enabled him to build their morale towards realization of common goals.
Mahatma Gandhi did not base his position in leadership on power. He instead used his position to serve the interests of the people and act as an example to them. Gandhi was therefore applying transformational leadership ideas of inspiring the people and uniting them on common grounds.
Transformational leadership is also focused on using individual character to influence and mobilize actions amongst the people. Mahatma was from a very humble background and could not rally an army using his wealth at any given time. However, he made use of his character to gain trust among the people and it enabled him to drive his country to independence.
His character and communication skills also inspired those who joined his crusade in employment of non-violent approaches as a way of fighting oppression (Allen, 2007). Through his actions as a role model, he managed to mobilize the people efficiently and to battle his critics peacefully.
Mahatma Gandhi as a transformational leader was mainly interested in changing beliefs of the society and uniting it towards achievement of set goals and objectives. He used his inspirational ability and interpersonal character alongside motivation and building morale of his supporters to realize his leadership goals.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Leadership Qualities
One of most evident leadership qualities portrayed by Mahatma Gandhi is persistence. Fighting for independence was no doubt a lengthy and difficult process. It called for perseverance and persistence. Mahatma did not lose hope despite harsh treatment and oppression. He was committed to realizing societal goals at the expense of his interests. He also managed to guide his followers to achieve a common goal, independence, by not letting his past define his actions.
Leadership is based on the ability to utilize available resources to guide the actions and deeds among the people. As a result, Gandhi did not let his persecution as well as suffering to affect his ability to serve the people. He used it as an example of how leaders should use power to influence their followers and guide their behaviors towards common goals (Allen, 2007).
Mahatma Gandhi’s qualities of servant leadership
The desire to realize a common goal by all means is one of the servant leadership features. Mahatma throughout his life considered himself a leader. He used his position to create awareness among the people about their rights and ability to resist oppression using non-violent strategies.
Gandhi as a man of the people understands diverse nature of humans including the illiterate as well as those who did not support him (Barnabas & Clifford, 2012). Serving the people to him, was the most ideal and reasonable strategy to influence their behaviors. He would also listen to the opinions and appeals of the people to understand their needs better. He therefore exhibited servant leadership quality through his actions, character and transformational leadership style.
Allen, D. (2007). Mahatma Gandhi on Violence and Peace Education. Philosophy East and West, 57(3), 290-310.
Barnabas, A., & Clifford, P. (2012). Mahatma Gandhi: An Indian Model of Servant Leadership. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 7 (2), 133-150.