Litmus Test for a Leader

The words “leadership” and “team work” are thrown around a lot these days. These skills are sought by corporations, colleges, and in politics. In the past, the only time we needed a leader was in crisis. Companies wanted managers, colleges wanted grades and politicians needed money. So why is there an emerging need for leaders, now? Because there is a need for inspiration. Leaders inspire action and inspiration keeps us motivated.

In my recent quest for inspiration, I recently watched a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek on “How great leaders inspire action.” Simon talks about the questions each organization should ask itself: Why, How and What. And he speaks about how the “Why” question defines the core purpose of the organization and therefore, the most important out of three questions. After watching the video, I pondered, “Why HSA?” I realized immediately that the success of the organization and my success as a leader in it relies on the alignment of my ‘why’ with that of the leadership and the organization.diagram-why-what-how-300x298


When we are often asked this question, it is common to come up with personalized answers or answers related to projects/events we are a part of but it is important to consider “does the answer reflect the ‘why’ of the organization”? The ‘why’ of the organization should be more important than the why of any individual in that institution. Individuals in an organization are merely tools to accomplish the goals of the organization at different levels.

By removing the factor of an individual’s ‘why’ we give the position/role of that individual more importance. We start to align with the position and the goals of that position rather than the person holding that position. At the end of the day, that’s why that position was created. With this, the position and the division of labor gain a new respect and standard.

While individuals in the organizations may not always see eye-to-eye on how things are done, the ‘why’ should still stay the same. As a team, we can work on our differences in how we do things but it’s a problem if our “why” is not collective.Leadership-300x225


At every major milestone, it is important to ask ourselves the following:
Have I inspired anyone new to align with the goals of the organization?
Has someone inspired me in how they accomplish their goals?
Are the initiatives/events aligned with the goal of the organization?
Have I created a leader?
Did I come up with any new initiatives or processes to accomplish the goals?

Individuals become leaders by spending more time on the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’ or the ‘how’. I am a leader in HSA because it is a platform to popularize the young Hindu voice in the America fabric and that’s exactly what I want to do. The HSA leaders are inspired by the our mission:
1. To empower the young Hindu adults through education, service, devotion, and meditation.
2. To cultivate and foster cross-cultural dialogue and interaction on issues pertaining to Hindus domestically and nationally.
3. To improve the level of representation at universities and corporations, with organizational activities, participation in other organizations and media.
4. To build a network amongst younger Hindus in America.

Excerpt taken from Ramya’s recent blog