Good leaders are made over time

Ananya Revanna | Updated on January 17, 2018

Palkhivala Foundation trains students to become leaders who impact society

If the world was divided into leaders and followers, it is said that only 10 per cent of the population would choose to take on the responsibilities of a leader. And an even smaller number will turn into good leaders.

That being said, good leaders aren’t born, they are made over the course of time. This was the theme of the eighth annual Leadership Training Camp for College Students, arranged by the Palkhivala Foundation, Nani Palkhivala Arbitration Centre and Forum for Free Enterprise, at Ethiraj College for Women, that focussed on turning students into leaders who will impact society in a positive way.

The two-day event was headed by leadership trainers Vivek Patki and Sachin Kamath. Patki said it was more a facilitation than a talk because, “it’s important for the participants to come up with answers on their own. We are just the catalyst for change, the observers,” he said.

There were six topics of discussion: communication skills, self-esteem, time management, goal setting, team work and self management. The camp started with Patki talking about effective ways to communicate and Kamath on the importance of understanding oneself.

‘What is communication?’

According to Patki, who spoke with wit and humour, communication is a continuous engagement in an effort to create understanding. Along the way, this engagement turns effective and persuasive. “The six processes of communication are: speaking, listening, writing, reading, non-verbal communication and observing and interpreting this non-verbal communication. Not everyone is good at all of them, but when they do learn them, they become good leaders,” he explained.

In particular, Patki emphasised understanding and interpreting non-verbal communication, including voice modulation, stage presence, body language, eye contact and reacting to an audience.

“Unless you make it known, your audience isn’t likely to know if you forget your talk, make a mistake or are nervous. They understand that it’s challenging to speak on stage, so it’s just a matter of how confident you are. If you are relying on notes, don’t feel guilty about it,” he said, reassuring apprehensive students. “You should be like Narendra Modi when it comes to voice modulation and Manmohan Singh with regards to education!” he added, much to the delight of his audience.

Communication isn’t just talking, but includes the art of listening as well, he said. “Listen to a person with an open mind and keep your biases aside. Don’t create distractions when they are talking,” he added.

‘Value yourself’

Kamath, in his talks on self-esteem, team work and setting goals, touched on a more emotional side of becoming a good leader. With everyday references and charm, he narrated his journey over the years. From being a dismissive last-bencher in college to a proactive and confident citizen, he said he had travelled a long way and insists he is still learning.

“The value of things is subjective, so why should you let others, who barely know you, judge you? You know yourself better than anyone else. If you weren’t aware of an aspect of yourself before and you are now, it shouldn’t hinder your development. It’s important to believe in you,” he said.

He added, “The quality of life depends on the quality of questions you ask yourself. Don’t compare yourself with other people. Set your own benchmark. Be selfish when it comes to getting knowledge and generous when it comes to giving it. After all, it’s the skills you acquire that will pay your bills; your income depends on how well you understand yourself and how much you learn.”

At the end of the day one, students were inspired and found the leader in them emerging. Unlike other such talks, this camp was self-motivational and made participants question everything around them, including (and especially) themselves.

Published on August 09, 2016

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